- East Africa mobile telecommunication giant Safaricom has raised its controlling stake to 56% in the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium that has bid for one of two telecom licenses in Ethiopia. This is a 5 point rise from its initial 51%.
The latest ownership arrangement on the consortium was disclosed by SA-based Vodacom Group which holds a 34.9 stake in the Kenya telco giant. Exact details came from Shameel Joosub, Vodacom’s Chief executive who disclosed the new ownership percentages at an investor briefing. Safaricom owns 56%, Japan’s Sumitomo 25%, CDC 10%, Vodacom 6%, and the UK sovereign investment fund.
Safaricom was given leadership of the consortium as a result of its close geographical proximity to Ethiopia. Vodacom pledged to raise its ownership in the consortium after a few years of operation. Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) gave confirmation that Safaricom and another South African consortium led by MTN Group were the only two parties bidding on the auction of two operating licenses.
Firms that dropped out of the bidding process were Orange, Etisalat, Telkom SA, Snail Mobile, Axian, Liquid Telecom, Electromecha International Projects, and Kandu Global Communications.
The amounts bid by Safaricom and MTN Group are expected to be disclosed when Ethiopia announces the results of this auction. Besides the sale of the licenses, the Ethiopian government is also disposing off a minority stake in the telco.