British International Investment

Global Partnership for Ethiopia

East AfricaCommunications & IT services

The Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium includes British International Investment, Safaricom, Vodafone, Vodacom and Sumitomo. The consortium won a mobile network license in Ethiopia to bring better and more affordable access to digital services in the country.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

The investment will drive economic and social transformation at scale in Ethiopia by:

- Improving access, quality and affordability of mobile services by reaching tens of millions of users, many whom would not otherwise have had access. By 2032 the majority will access 4G and mobile money services, whilst benefiting from price reductions.
- Significantly boosting the economy, employment of 7,000 people, productivity improvements for over 1.5 million SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs, and taxes and foreign direct investment.
- Enabling greater social inclusion though the provision of digital services to the most underserved, with 24 million individuals cumulatively accessing these services by 2032.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.


  • Improve standards of living through increased access to affordable information and communications technology (SDG 9C).
  • Support economic growth and economic opportunities (SDG 8.2, 8.5).


Primary Secondary

Through investment in telecoms licence and capex related to network build-out. This will enable greater coverage, lower prices, better service quality (incl. 2G, 3G and 4G roll-out) and enable more people to connect and improve productive use.

Investment will benefit the Government directly through licence fee and taxes, as well as job creation (direct and indirect) and increased productivity for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs.


Stakeholder Geography Characteristics


Literate citizens able to afford a mobile device and data and voice services. This is currently 46 per cent of the population and will rise to 64 per cent by 2030. We estimate the proportion of customers from disadvantaged backgrounds to increase over 10 years.

Citizens, employees


Broadly all citizens will experience a shallow impact from overall economic improvement, with small and micro entrepreneurs benefitting directly. Around 30 per cent of the Ethiopian population currently live on below $1.90/day.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

By 2032 this investment will reach tens of millions of customers, of which we estimate at least 14 million are people who would not have accessed mobile without liberalisation. By 2027, around 80 per cent of customers will be accessing data services. Over 24 million people will cumulatively be reached through targeted mobile services in agriculture, health and education.

We expect the benefits of mobile services to the individual to be deep in Ethiopia given current lack of access and affordability of mobile and data services, and the effects to be lasting beyond our 10 year forecast horizon.


  • Financial additionality: External equity is required to fund the market entry and we are one of few investors with the required risk appetite and long-term capital.
  • Value additionality: Our support will help enable a more developmental approach.

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.



Stakeholder Participation Risk
  • Addressing barriers to mobile internet usage remains an important challenge, especially for women.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • access to information in some cases, such as disinformation, can exacerbate local conflict and oppression.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    East Africa

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    Communications & IT services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Start date :
    May 2021
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.


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