The World Bank through its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has committed to supporting the construction and operation of Safaricom Ethiopia’s 5G and 4G networks.
According to Vodafone- which is one of the shareholders in the telco- on Friday, IFC agreed to invest $157.4 million in equity toward the project.
Further, IFC will inject an additional $100 million in loans for the telco while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will offer a 10-year insurance guarantee worth $1.1 billion.
Consequently, IFC will join the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which comprises Safaricom PLC, Vodafone, Vodacom, British International Investment, and Sumitomo Corporation as the shareholders.
The plan, Safaricom stated, intends to provide reliable connectivity and consequently unlock the economic potential of Ethiopia.
Among the sectors set to benefit from the investment, according to the statement, include education and healthcare in both rural and urban areas.
“By bringing these communities online, we will help improve their quality of life and give them greater access to resources, information, and opportunities,” the statement read in part.
“And when it comes to financial services, in areas where banks are not accessible, mobile financial services can prove to be a lifeline.”
Safaricom Ethiopia Venture
The move to roll out the 5G network in Ethiopia comes months after Safaricom launched operations in the East African nation in October 2022.
Until then, Ethiopia was still a telecom monopoly market with only one state-owned network provider.
According to the telco’s financial year results released in May, the number of registered customers surpassed the three million mark in its first seven months of operations.
In May, Ethiopia granted Safaricom the license to operate mobile money services MPESA in the country.
Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC CEO said: “We are excited that this is a great milestone following our entry into Ethiopia. This positions us to provide essential financial services to the Ethiopian population.”