Huawei Technologies Corp. is positioning itself to get more business in Ethiopia, as the East African economy opens up its telecommunications sector.
“Ethiopia is rising and becoming much more important for the future,” Loise Tamalgo, Huawei’s head of public relations for 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, said in an interview in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan. The company is likely to move a regional office covering about five nations from the Democratic Republic Congo to Ethiopia, where it currently only has a country office, he said.
Liberalization of the telecom industry is at the forefront of what Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in 2018 would be a wide-ranging privatization program. The plan was intended to bring in much needed foreign exchange and boost the economy while improving connectivity across the Horn of Africa nation.
The country is seeking to double its mobile towers to about 14,000, which would require an investment of up to $1.1 billion, and build out its fiber-optic network from less than 30,000 kilometers (18,600 miles) currently, according to the Ethiopian Communications Authority. It also plans to sell a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom and issue two new telecom licenses next year.