The World Bank Group has announced a significant investment into Africa by partnering with the shareholders of Safaricom Ethiopia, the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which includes British International Investment, Vodafone Group, Vodacom, Safaricom and Sumitomo Corporation.
The Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) was awarded a mobile network licence in 2021 to support Ethiopia’s digital transformation and positively enhance the lives of its citizens. Since switching on its network services in 2022, Safaricom Ethiopia’s 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services are available across 11 cities in Ethiopia including the capital.
The new partnership will include an investment, a loan and guarantees from two members of the World Bank Group. IFC will make a $157.4 million equity investment in GPE and a $100 million A-loan to its wholly owned subsidiary, Safaricom Ethiopia. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will provide 10-year insurance guarantees of $1 billion to cover the equity investments of Safaricom Ethiopia’s shareholders. The investment and guarantees will help Safaricom Ethiopia roll out and operate 4G and 5G mobile networks across the entire country – including in rural and urban areas. Furthermore, under a license granted in May 2023 by the National Bank of Ethiopia, Safaricom Ethiopia also plans to launch mobile financial services within 2023 under the brand name M-PESA. The announcement press release can be found here.
In welcoming the World Bank Group, Abhinav Sinha, Managing Director and Head of Technology and Telecoms at BII said: “BII invested in Safaricom Ethiopia two years ago to support the creation of vital and inclusive economic opportunities for tens of millions of Ethiopians through connectivity. We are thrilled to partner with the World Bank whose investment will help to advance our mission to improve access, quality and affordability of digital services in Ethiopia which will transform many lives through job creation as well as greater social and financial inclusion.”