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    Taskforce in the pipeline to steadfast cooperation between Safaricom Ethiopia and GoE Ministries

    Safaricom Ethiopia and GoE Ministries agree to form a taskforce that oversees cooperation, delivery and mutual understanding in the journey to the former’s launch of operation.

    Safaricom Ethiopia and the Land Bank and Development Corporation (LBDC) hosted a high-level delegation of stakeholders on January 24, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel to discuss areas of collaboration and synergy that will allow Safaricom Ethiopia achieve its obligations ahead of commercial launch in April 2022.

    At the joint session, GoE Ministers, key public and private sector stakeholders and regulators deliberated on stead fasting Safaricom Ethiopia’s launch of operations.

    Lensa Mekonnen, Land Bank CEO, underscored that partnership is the key to take this project forward as the country moves into a new age of growth for the industry.

    She added: “We will establish a Land Bank, Federal Government and Regional Government and Safaricom Ethiopia taskforce to oversee delivery and to deepen mutual understanding on the issues at hand and discuss possible two-way cooperation for the benefit of all Ethiopians,” she said.

    The joint session organized as part of a commitment from the Government to address the challenges for new entrants in the telecommunications sector, brought together representatives who exchanged views on existing cooperation, new areas for joint work and support for Safaricom Ethiopia to achieve expected outcomes through open and productive dialogue.

    Mr. Anwar Soussa, Safaricom Ethiopia Chief Executive Officer, outlined the priority areas of support with key asks on matters of land, importation, power and accessibility.

    “We have made substantial commitments to the government and people of Ethiopia and our shareholders, and these are obligations we intend to see through,” said Mr. Soussa.

    He added, “We have been honoured with the opportunity to provide best in class products and services in this market and we are building a rich partners ecosystem to ensure inclusivity and co-creation of relevant value for our customers. To achieve this, we are requesting an acceleration of processes and a taskforce with a concerted effort towards delivery.”

    Mr. Soussa said the continued support from the Government of Ethiopia (FDRE) would enable the company meet and surpass the regulatory and license obligations, which include extended network coverage, job creation and social impact objectives.

    H.E. Huria Ali, State Minister of Innovation and Technology, affirmed the Ministry’s commitment to supporting the investment by Safaricom in the country.

    “Thank you for bringing us together as partners for this forum and for your continued push for partnerships in the industry across private and public sectors. We encourage all stakeholders, regulators to contribute in making the vision of a digital Ethiopia a reality by supporting the liberalization of the industry as Safaricom Ethiopia sets up to offer their services to us all.

    We will partner with you as we execute our ten-year plan and digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy,” she said.

    Engineer Balcha Reba, Director General of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, conveyed the regulator’s backing for the project and underscored the importance for all players to adhere to policies, directives and regulatory frameworks in place to advance the progress of the industry.

    “We encourage competition for the benefit of all subscribers as we build towards digital transformation,” he said.

    Pedro Rabacal, Safaricom Ethiopia’s Chief Technology Officer, shared milestone updates, work in progress and future plans for the network rollout across the country over the next ten years including the recently opened data centre located in Kality, Addis Ababa.

    The data centre is part of a US$300 million investment in network technology for the first year in operation. Mr Rabacal also mentioned plans to expand data centres into Adama and Dire Dawa as the company scales to cover all regions across the country. He further pointed out that the expansion needs an outlay of US$400 million in the next year.

    “With your support, we will be able to rollout the best-in-class telecommunication technology in Africa that will enhance network performance and our capabilities to handle the massive demand and opportunity that we have been exposed to in the market. Subscribers stand to benefit when we have the ability to efficiently scale network capacity and meet their ever-increasing demand for world class services,” he said.

    He added, “We are determined to be ready with a reliable network that will provide ultra-fast mobile broadband and internet services for subscribers across Ethiopia. We look forward to the implementation of a new telecoms regulatory framework, affordable financial regulation, taxation and incentives enabling digital Ethiopia.

    Lensa Mekonnen directed the next joint session would be planned in the coming weeks where the Federal Government institutions and agencies would present their action plans to unlock progress towards accelerating resolutions required for Safaricom Ethiopia’s commercial launch.

    Guests in attendance at the joint session:

    1. H.E. Huria Ali, State Minister, Ministry of Innovation and Technology
    2. H.E. Semrita Sewasew, State Minister, Ministry of Finance
    3. H.E. Eyob Tekalign (Phd), State Minister, Ministry of Finance
    4. H.E. Ahmed Shide, Minister, Ministry of Finance
    5. H.E. Eyob Tekalign (Phd), State Minister, Ministry of Finance
    6. H.E. Gedion Temotiwos(phd), Minister, Ministry of Justice
    7. Eng. Balcha Reba, ECA Director General
    8. CEO, Land Bank, Lensa Mekonnen
    9. Mr. Million H/Michael Deputy DG ECA
    10. H.E. Lelise Neme, Commissioner, Ethiopian Investment Commission
    11. H.E. Habtamu Hailemichael, Director, Public Enterprises Holding Administration
    12. H.E. Tigistu Amesalu, Deputy Director, Public Enterprises Holding Administration
    13. H.E. Tassew Woldehana(prof.), President, Addis Ababa University
    14. CEO, Ethiopian Electric Utility, Sudarshan Shapurkar
    15. Mr. Ayenew- Represenative from NISS.