Ethiopia, which for many years had a heavily government-controlled economy, is now going to sell minority stakes in state-run Ethio Telecom to domestic and overseas investors.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition, which held power since 1991, previously backed state involvement in the economy and a monopoly on telecoms.
However, in a statement it explained it now believes non-domestic players “with knowledge and foreign capital can play a critical role in our growth,” Bloomberg reported, citing the Ethiopian News Agency.
“While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Power, and the Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors,” the government explained.
The move is part of new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s strategy for economic reforms in a country ranked by the International Monetary Fund as Africa’s fastest-growing economy.
Reuters reported investors have stated opening up new sectors to them could ease a shortage of foreign exchange.
The news agency added Ethiopia, with a population of around 100 million, is one of a few African countries to still have a state monopoly in telecoms.
Last month Ethio Telecom said it would let some local companies provide internet services through its infrastructure, a move which could increase competition.