Safaricom shareholders clear the path for Ethiopia entry


Safaricom shareholders clear the path for Ethiopia entry
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa during the release of Safaricom PLC full year results on April 29, 2020

The shareholders of telecoms operator Safaricom have cleared the way for the company’s Ethiopia venture.

On Friday, the stakeholders voted by a majority allow Safaricom to subscribe for shares in Vodafamily Ethiopia Company, a special purpose vehicle entity in charge of the Ethiopian venture under the Global Partnership for Ethiopia.

The Global Partnership for Ethiopia which is registered in the Netherlands will be the operating company to be established in Ethiopia to spearhead the operator’s expansion into the country.

Earlier this month, the government of Ethiopia rubber-stamped the entry of Safaricom to its telecoms space bu registering its new business unit, dubbed Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC.

The new unit has a nationwide license lasting 15 years and renewable subject to the fulfillment of license obligations issued by the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA).

Safaricom directly and indirectly holds at least a 50 per cent equity stake in each of the consortium companies in the Ethiopia venture with each of the consortium parties set to become subsidiaries of Safaricom.

This gives Safaricom a controlling stake in the venture ahead of its partners who include its parent company Vodacom.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa expects the new venture to mark the telecom’s next phase of growth.

“The license opens the door for a fresh chapter of growth for Safaricom and its consortium partners in Africa’s largest country by population and in one of the only remaining economies that feature a single provider of telecommunications services,” he told shareholders at Safaricom’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday.

“We trust that our entry into Ethiopia will open doors to entrepreneurs that will help forge even greater ties between Kenya and Ethiopia.”

Safaricom is expected to break ground on commercial operations in Ethiopia from January 2022.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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