The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has stated that the Global Partnership for Ethiopia has incorporated and registered its local company, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia. This signals that the company will retain the brand name Safaricom in the over 100 million in population market, led by Anwar Soussa as the Managing Director as announced earlier this month.

The Safaricom-led consortium received a designate licence in May after winning the bid and was given 45 days to register a local company before getting the 15-year renewable operator licence.

“The ECA has granted a nationwide full-service Unified Telecommunications Service License to the Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC effective from 9 July 2021, valid for a term of fifteen years from the effective date, and renewable for additional terms of fifteen years subject to fulfillment of all license obligations,” ECA said in a statement.

Ethiopia’s award of a new telecoms licence paves the way to open the market to international investors for the first time in the country, promising economic development and growth.

Safaricom owns a majority stake in the consortium, with other partners including British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.

The consortium won the licence with a bid of Ksh. 91.6 billion ($850 million) and aims to start operations in Ethiopia next year.

The plans to expand to Ethiopia have however been complicated by a US State financier threatening to recall its loans following escalation of armed conflict in the horn of Africa nation. The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) says that the acts of violence against civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region could affect the release of Ksh. 54 billion ($500 million) loan.