Africa: MTN Joins Heated Race to Enter Ethiopia's Telecommunications Industry

An MTN-branded bus stop in Lagos, Nigeria (file image).

MTN has teamed up with the Silk Road Fund, China's state-owned investment fund that mostly bankrolls infrastructure, energy and resource projects, to buy one of two telecommunications licences in Ethiopia. It joins Vodacom in the race to enter Ethiopia.

The planned privatisation of Ethiopia's telecommunications industry is heating up, with MTN Group being the latest mobile operator to participate in a bid to buy one of the two telecommunications licences that are up for sale in Africa's second most populated country.

On Monday 26 April, MTN confirmed its bid for a telecommunications licence in Ethiopia, joining a consortium led by Vodafone Group, which also expressed an interest in acquiring a licence to make a foray into the east African country.

Vodafone has joined forces with its South Africa subsidiary Vodacom, Safaricom (Kenya's largest telecoms provider), CDC Group (the UK's development finance institution), and Sumitomo Corporation (a Japanese firm with investments in mining, infrastructure and other industries) to form the consortium that placed a bid for one of two telecommunications licences in Ethiopia.

MTN has also teamed up with heavy hitters in its bid -- the company has partnered with the Silk Road Fund, China's state-owned investment fund that mostly bankrolls...

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