Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Safaricom shareholders have cleared the path for the telco’s entry into Ethiopia by giving nod to the setting up and incorporation of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC, the firm that will run operations starting next year.

During a virtual AGM held today, the shareholders also approved the payment of a final dividend of Kes 37 billion before August 31. The firm had previously approved an interim dividend of Kes 18 billion which was paid to shareholders on March 31.

Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC was set up early July after the consortium led by Safaricom was awarded licence to operate telecommunication services in Ethiopia.

The Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium brings together Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and CDC Group. The companies from Kenya, South Africa, Japan and The United Kingdom have proven experience in telecommunications with large-scale network deployment capabilities, operations and service provision.

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The consortium is 56 per cent owned by Safaricom, 6.2 per cent by Vodacom, 25 per cent by the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo and 10 per cent by the UK sovereign investment fund CDC Group.

In July, Anwar Soussa was appointed the Managing Director to lead setting up of the operations and he will be reporting to the board of directors of the Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC and Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer.

Until his appointment, Mr Sousa, a Greek national was the Vodacom DRC managing director.

He will be expected to steer Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC creating a digital transformation that will positively impact the economic and social lives in Africa’s second-largest country home to over 112 million people.

“The board is committed to working with management to deliver value to our shareholders but, most importantly, to ensure we continue to be there for our customers, staff and the community, especially in this new phase,” Chairman of the Board Michael Joseph said during the 13th AGM.

Ethiopia has brought to life the company’s dream to expand beyond Kenya, noted Mr Ndegwa.

“Ethiopia is a critical part of our strategy under Mergers, Partnerships & Acquisitions. We are proud to lead this partnership that will provide quality and affordable mobile and internet connectivity to enable more Ethiopians to access quality telecommunications services.”

Mr Ndegwa added: “Even as we start operations in Ethiopia, we pledge to continue investing in our country ensuring to always offer our customers superior network connectivity and efficiently enhance our network, products and services.”

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