Telecom Reform Will Play Major Role in Socio-economic Activities that Enable Rapid Growth in Ethiopia: Minister

Addis Ababa Reforming the telecom sector and engaging the private sector will a play critical role in driving a digital economy and realizing socio-economic growth of the country, Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun said.

Addressing the public consultation on Ethio telecom reform today, Innovation and Technology Minister, Getahun Mekuria said telecom is set to play a major role in socio-economic activities that enable rapid growth in the country.

The target can be met only with strong engagement of the private sector, he said, adding that there is a huge market in Ethiopia for the private sector.

Citing the best experiences of other countries in the reform process, the minster stated that some countries have done it right in the past few years. Some European countries have successfully reformed their telecommunications in the early 1990s. There are also some successful countries that reformed their telecom in recent years, according to Getahun.

Recently, India and Myanmar have for instance reformed their telecommunications by establishing strong regulator, encouraging sector competition, and introducing the sharing of infrastructure.

He added that by taking international benchmarks and our economic reform policies, our telecom sector is being guided by the following pillars, namely creation of strong policies and political alignment, creation of a strong regulator and adoption of universal service target.

Allowing infrastructure sharing, developing supporting infrastructure, planning for future ready networks, creating demand linkages, strong participation of the private sector, and above all creating a telecom center that drives a digital economy are also among the pillars, the minister explained.

Accordingly, Ethiopian Communications Regulatory Authority has been established and some core activities are already underway. We expect to issue operator license and also undertake partial privatization of Ethio telecom in the first quarter of 2020, Getahun revealed.

Director of the Ethiopian Communications Regulatory Authority, Balcha Reba said the authority was established with a commitment to structuring the development and the integration of the telecommunications sector.

Thus it will serve as the main vehicle to Ethiopian communications service sector so as to accelerate the growth of Ethiopian economy.

Issuing licenses to telecommunication and postal services, regulating tariff, regulating price of telecom equipment, and safeguarding the interest of consumers of communication service are among the major responsibilities of the authority.

Balcha said the objective of the authority is to transparently and efficiently regulate the telecommunication sector in Ethiopia and ensure fair and competitive practices.

Source: Ethiopia News agency