The big deal to be sealed this week

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Balcha Reba (Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) and Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE), consortium of conglomerates, are formally to seal the license award deal on Tuesday.
Balcha Reba, Director General of ECA, told Capital that despite the signing being held on June 8, it would be ceremonial.
“We are going to hold an official license award ceremony. The license agreement is executed and the required fee is already fully paid,” the founding Director General of ECA elaborated.
The consortium of Safaricom, Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation, and CDC Group that is backed by financiers United States International Development Finance Corporation has already settled the USD 850 million to secure the license.
“We have already concluded everything that is required; as per the bid rule, the license award ceremony that includes all parties and invited guests will be held. Based on the bid, the award of the license is supposed to fall within the seven day period following the signage of agreement. To this end, the license was awarded on time and GPE has already wired the fee,” Balcha explained.
It is worth noting that the government had given the final award two weeks ago.
On its proposal a consortium of telecom giants and financial firm proposed to undertake the biggest ever foreign direct investment (FDI) valuing USD 8.6 billion in Ethiopia of which the amount includes the license fee.
The signing would be a symbol for the alternative telecom operator to announce its activity in the country, while the service is expected to be commenced in the beginning of 2022.
Balcha did not reveal who will be the guest of honor at the signing ceremony and the place where the event will be held. Senior officials from the global giants are expected to attend the event.
Few days after the award announcement on its press release sent to Capital it stated that the Global Partnership for Ethiopia was created to bring about transformational economic and social impact in the country.
“The provision of accessible, affordable and high quality mobile and internet connectivity by the Partnership will enable greater social inclusion as millions more Ethiopians access quality telecom services,” it says on its statement, and added that increased connectivity in Ethiopia will also boost the economy, impacting over 1 million jobs with digital training and skills, and bringing about productivity improvements for countless micro-entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises.
Recently, Balcha told Capital that the bid for the second failed award will be floated in the near future with minor adjustment on the former bid document that had very tight criteria to be part of the telecom actor in the country.
MTN, which was partnered with Silk Road Fund and featured as one of the two finalist on the two telecom award process but failed due to it least offer for the license, is expected to be part of the other round bid.