Ethiopia’s government has explained that privatisation of the national airline and state telecommunications company is being done to ease the shortage of foreign currency.
Ethiopia announced last week plans to open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment.
In an exclusive interview with state broadcaster, Fana BC, Dr. Yinager Desie, Commissioner of the Ethiopian National Planning Commission said lower export performance, failure of mega projects to commence production, high demand for imported goods and growing external debt burden have worsened the shortage of foreign currency.
Ethiopia requires more than $13 billion over the coming two years for oil importation, private investment, upgrading of existing projects and for repayment of external debt.
South African telecommunications firms MTN Group and Vodacom Group have already expressed interest in taking up investment options in Ethiopia’s telecom sector as soon as it opens up.
Desie says the privatised enterprises would generate large amount of foreign currencies to tackle shortage.
The commission will therefore give priority to foreign companies in privatising the enterprises as government’s decision is targeted obtaining foreign currency.