Balcha Reba, Director General of the Ethiopian Communications Authority

Brook Taye, a senior advisor to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance has confirmed that Ethio Telecom will begin the tendering process for two new telecom licenses as early as December. The advisor and other government officials stressed that the licensing process will not be impacted by ongoing conflict in the Tigray region.

Concerns over timing were addressed by Brook Taye and others after many cited the deadline the Ethiopia missed last April for the sale of Ethio Telecom stakes. According to Balcha Reba, Director General of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, that process is also set to be completed within the next nine months.

Other officials also commented on the sale of stakes and posited that one of the major factors behind the delay was orienting new laws within the industry to take into account entrants into the market.

Despite the skepticism some telecom authorities within East Africa have over the current timelines, Balcha Reba dismissed concerns that deadlines will continue to go unmet. Critics, however, remain wary of the priorities of important government officials given the taxing nature of the conflict in Tigray.

An anonymous industry expert further stoked doubts about the timeline citing the uncertainty the conflict creates and its effect on the amount investors are willing to spend.

Reuters, Business World, Financial Post

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