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UPDATE 1-Ethiopia plans to sell 45% of telecoms monopoly Ethio

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NAIROBI, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Ethiopia plans to sell a 45% stake in its Ethio Telecom monopoly, an adviser to the state minister of finance said, as the government pursues the liberalisation of the sector despite an armed conflict in the north of the country.

Ethiopia’s telecoms industry is considered the big prize in a push to liberalise the African country’s economy because of a huge protected market, which serves around 100 million people.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is attempting to energise underperforming state-run sectors with reforms.

“It is 40% to all interested bidders and 5% will be dedicated to Ethiopians. The 55% will remain with the government of Ethiopia,” Brook Taye, senior adviser at the ministry of finance, told Reuters.

Ethiopia’s government expects the sale to take nine months, Brook told Reuters last week, while it will also issue tenders for two new operating licences in December, a process which is expected to take three to four months. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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