ICT and Telecommunications in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government is the main growth driver in the ICT industry as the major client of ICT companies and the majority shareholder in the only telecoms company Ethio Telecom. In terms of the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan 2, ICT will provide a springboard towards realising the national vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2025. Recently Ethiopia has opened up the industry to the private sector, offering two telecom operator licences (one has been awarded) and indicating it will sell 40% of Ethio Telecom, which it owns.
The government plans to liberalise the telecoms market and modernise telecoms infrastructure. Mobile sim and broadband penetration are low compared to other developing countries due to high mobile tariffs and the country’s poor network coverage. While 2G networks are widely available, 4G coverage is restricted to Addis Ababa. Ethiopia also has a notably low level of international connectivity. E-commerce is in its infancy in Ethiopia and is rarely used, although mobile banking is growing.
IT Hardware and Software
There is local assembly of mobile phones, and innovation and localisation for Ethiopian use such as a keyboard in Amharic. Mobile phone assembly is largely of feature phones, but many parts and compenents must be imported to produce mobile handsets, and industry players say the industry requires local compoments production.
This report focuses on the information and communication technology sector (ICT) in Ethiopia which includes telephony, the internet and broadband, and the infrastructure that supports them including hardware manufacturing, assembly and supply, and software development and supply. The report includes information on the state of the industry and influencing factors such as teledensity and the economic environment, major players and government’s liberalisation plans. There are profiles of 41 companies including the dominant player Ethio Telecoms, international players with a presence in Ethiopia such as ZTE Corporation and Tana Communications and IT companies such as Africom Technologies and Fairfax Technologies.