The Ethiopian government has awarded the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium a mobile telecommunication license.

A new operating company, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, through a holding company in the Netherlands, has been established to begin providing the mobile telecommunications services.

The consortium includes Safaricom; Vodacom; Vodafone Group; Japanese trading and business investment company Sumitomo; and UK-based development finance institution and impact investor CDC Group.

Vodacom, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodacom International Holdings has entered into definitive unconditional agreements together with the other consortium members to fund the Ethiopian operating company.

The funding is limited to its pro rata beneficial shareholding of 6,2% which is not expected to be material.

Safaricom, as the lead member of the Consortium, intends to provide additional disclosure on the funding of the company in the coming months. Vodacom will also provide strategic operational support for the Ethiopia Opco.

The shareholding of the company is as follows: Safaricom – 55,7%; Sumitomo – 27,2%; CDC Group – 10,9%; Vodacom – 6,2%; and Vodafone – nominal.

The license gives the consortium an opportunity to build services in Africa’s second most-populous country by population, while enhancing Vodacom and Safaricom’s geographic diversification.