Norton Rose Fulbright was the lead counsel and a strategic partner in advising a Consortium on its successful bid to obtain the first telecommunication licence ever awarded to a private operator in Ethiopia’s history.
The Consortium was led by Kenya’s Safaricom Plc, the region’s leading telecommunications provider, and included Vodafone, Vodacom, BII Plc, and Sumitomo Corporation.
Following successfully winning the bid, the Consortium has now incorporated its new subsidiary, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia Plc, which will roll out its new network and deliver digital transformation in line with the Government of Ethiopia’s vision.
This will include voice and data connection to support improved digital literacy, customer care, cyber security, entrepreneurship and social inclusion, as well as the use of mobile technology for financial inclusion, health care, education and farming.
The Consortium is set to create up to 1.5 million new jobs, upskill the workforce and bring $8.5bn in investment over 10 years.
It has also established a precedent for future private entry into Ethiopia’s telecoms sector and the country, more generally.
Norton Rose Fulbright partner Oliver Stacey, who led the team, said:
“It was a huge honour for the project to receive this award and a privilege to be part of this historic digital transformation.
Not only was this the first telecommunication license to be awarded to a private operator and the single biggest foreign direct investment in Ethiopia’s history, it was also the first transaction to be structured and successfully tendered under the country’s evolving telecommunications regulatory framework, overseen by the Ethiopian Communications Authority.”