Ethiopia raises size of planned Ethio Telecom stake sale

An Ethio Telecom employee at its Bole call centre in Addis Ababa
An Ethio Telecom employee works in the company's call centre in Bole, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 29, 2022. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

NAIROBI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Ethiopia has raised the size of its planned Ethio Telecom stake sale to up to 45% of the state-owned company from 40% previously, the finance ministry said.

The government last November revived the previously postponed privatisation process, saying it would sell a 40% stake. It also resumed a separate plan to issue a full telecoms licence for a third operator in the East African country.

A finance ministry statement on Thursday said the plan had been revised and that as much as 45% of the company would be sold.

The telecoms industry is seen as a big prize in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's push to open up the economy, but efforts to lure investment were slowed by a nearly two-year war in northern Tigray that killed tens of thousands and uprooted millions.

In May 2021 a consortium led by Kenya's top operator, Safaricom (SCOM.NR), won the first international telecoms licence with a bid of $850 million.

Rival Safaricom Ethiopia began commercial operations in October.

Writing by George Obulutsa Editing by David Goodman

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