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Ethiopia Plans to Privatize Mobile Telecom, Aviation, Energy Sectors

The plan to sell off parts of the country’s once-guarded crown jewels is getting a mixed reaction

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Ethiopia, Privatize, Enterprises
FILE - A woman walks past an office of Ethio Telecom, a state monopoly, in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Nov. 9, 2015. VOA

Ethiopia’s finance minister says the government is preparing to privatize some state-owned entities. However, the plan to sell off parts of the country’s once-guarded crown jewels is getting a mixed reaction.

At a corner of the Ethiopian Airlines complex in Addis Ababa sits a DC-3 jet, a constant reminder of the milestones that Africa’s most successful national carrier has made since its first international flight 73 years ago.

Now, the airline is seeking a partner as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s plan to privatize some of the country’s state-owned entities.

Ethiopia’s Finance Minister Ahmed Shide explains.

Ethiopia, Privatize, Enterprises
The government is preparing to privatize some state-owned entities. Pixabay

“In the past, we have been actively involved in the economic affairs, but now we are rebalancing. We need to facilitate the sustainability of growth. We will first privatize four sectors: the telecom, aviation, energy and logistics, as well,” Shide said.

One of the crown jewels, state monopoly Ethio Telecom, has a customer base of 65 million people.

The finance minister says those numbers should be enough to whet any investor’s appetite.

“The most important incentive is the market potential itself.  There is growing market potential in all areas, but we are also revising a lot of laws and procedures and customs as a way of ease of doing business,” Shide said.

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Some companies say the decision to open Ethiopia’s markets could not come at a better time.  Daryl Wilson, managing director of East African Bottling Share Company, a subsidiary of Coca Cola, agrees.

“I think the opening up of the economy will bring up a whole lot of benefits, as well.  Like one of the biggest challenges at the moment is access to foreign exchange and dollars.  I think when it opens up — if it opens up, and how it opens up — it will be beneficial to all the players that operate within Ethiopia,” Wilson said.

Not everyone is convinced that privatization is the best path forward.

Getachew Alemu, an investments and development consultant based in Addis Ababa, says the country’s economic problems will not be solved through privatization.

Ethiopia, Privatize, Enterprises
One of the crown jewels, state monopoly Ethio Telecom, has a customer base of 65 million people. Pixabay

“There are serious concerns about the decision itself and the process by which it is being implemented, the pace of implementing the policy, as well as other related issues like accountability and transparency, and the future of these sectors,” he said.

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Alemu also said there needs to be a regulatory framework in place to ensure that shares of the state-owned enterprises are not sold for less than they are worth. (VOA)

Next Story

Google, Wipro to Speed up Digital Shift of Enterprises: Report

Wipro also aims to enable its customers to migrate faster, enhance their digital experiences and optimise business outcomes

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Global software major Wipro on Thursday said it had widened the partnership with search engine behemoth Google to speed up digital transformation of enterprises through cloud adoption.

“By collaborating with Google Cloud, we will catalyse innovation for enterprises in industry verticals like consumer goods, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), semiconductor and healthcare,” the city-based IT major said in a statement here.

Google’s cloud platform is a suite of computing services that runs on the infrastructure it uses internally for its end-user products Google Search and YouTube.

“We leverage Google cloud platform to build solutions and capabilities to help enterprises embark on their cloud journey,” said the statement.

The software vendor’s solutions, with Google cloud technologies embedded at their core, will enable enterprises to future-proof their IT investments.

Wipro net plunges 21% yearly in Q4
Wipro net plunges 21% yearly in Q4. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Our data discovery platform accelerates insight-driven decision-making through pre-built applications for verticals such as BFSI, retail, energy, education and manufacturing,” said the statement.

The outsourcing firm will also integrate Google’s open platform Anthos to manage applications in a multi-cloud world and enable hybrid cloud deployments for its customers.

“Our offerings on Google Cloud are innovation-focused. We equip our customers with the right tools to operate on a modern IT infrastructure, adopt a ‘business-first’ approach and be future-ready,” said Ramesh Nagarajan, Vice President for cloud services, Wipro.

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Wipro also aims to enable its customers to migrate faster, enhance their digital experiences and optimise business outcomes.

“Wipro’s expertise in digital transformation solutions will be an asset for enterprise customers as they look to move critical workloads to our cloud platform,” said Google ecosystem Vice President Kevin Ichhpurani in the statement. (IANS)