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Ethiopia privatisation plan gets underway


The Addis Ababa-based Ministry of Public Enterprises, which has now become the Public Enterprises Assets and Administration Agency, and is set to privatise major Ethiopian state firms. ANDUALEM SISAY | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JAMES ANYANZWA

The Ethiopian government has picked telecommunications firm Ethio Telecom as the first of four major state corporations to be sold to private investors, in a liberalisation programme meant to boost economic growth.

Ethiopia, with a population of over 100 million people, has been Africa’s fastest growing economy for years, but the country is now reaching the limits of its state-led growth, prompting the government to open up its economy.

Private investment has been hampered by a shortage of foreign currency, even as the country ranks low on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, at position 159 out of 190.

The communications director in the country’s Ministry of Finance, Haji Ebsa, said last week that the government will give priority to the partial privatisation of Ethio Telecom as it considers the best approach for the entire process.

Technical and steering committees have been established under the Finance Ministry, as well as a macro committee under the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Haji added.

The decision to liberalise the economy and privatise state-owned companies in telecommunications, aviation and banking, is part of reforms championed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethiopia is seeking to spur the country’s growth and development by attracting more foreign direct investment.

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