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Safaricom Employees Evacuated from Ethiopia Amid Conflict

ethiopians arrested
Ethiopians Arrested in Thome, Juja Subcounty on Monday. [Courtesy]

Kenya’s largest telco,  Safaricom,  has evacuated a number of its employees stationed in its newest market in Ethiopia. The country has been rocked by Armed conflict and civil unrest for close to a year now.

Safaricom is in the process of launching its operations in the Ethiopia after its consortium beat other contenders for a telecommunications licence.

“All our staff are safe. A number have been evacuated from Ethiopia on a temporary basis whilst we assess the situation,” a top official at Safaricom who sought anonymity told Business Daily.

Read: Uhuru Sings Praises For Safaricom In Ethiopia

Other western nations including the US, Italy and Denmark have also recalled their citizens, asking them to leave the country while commercial flights are still available.

Ethiopia has been embroiled in a war since last year after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a military offensive against the Tigrayan forces, who attacked a government military base.

The Tigrayan rebels are reported to be closing to the country capital, Addis Ababa. Despite calls for a ceasefire from the UN and other Western countries the PM has vowed to keep fighting.

Read: Twitter Suspends Trends Feature in Ethiopia for Fear of Violence

According to the report by Business Daily, reports indicate that the evacuation of Safaricom employees is being done in batches on commercial flights.

“They were evacuated on Wednesday and others on Friday last week,” a source based in Addis said.

Safaricom staff in the country are expected to design the products and networks to help the telco launch successful operations to gain a favourable market share currently dominated by the state-owned Ethio Telecom.

Read: Safaricom Gears Up for Commercial Launch in Ethiopia with Recruitment Drive

The consortium will reportedly apply the Kenyan expertise after which it seeks to localise the staff membership and build on a local workforce.

The Ethiopia-based entity will reportedly operate independently,  with its own CEO and management team.

Vodacom DRC Managing Director Anwar Soussa has been appointed as the new Head of the telco in Ethiopia. His tenure is expected to start in July 1, 2022.

Read: Infrastructure Firm to Invest in 4G Towers Targeting Kenyan Telcos

The management team comprises 12 members, four of whom are Kenyans. These are  Charles Wanjohi (chief consumer business officer), Stanley Njoroge (chief finance officer), Mokaya Mokaya (chief human resource officer) and Paul Kavavu (chief financial services officer).

“Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence are occurring without warning. The situation may escalate further and may cause supply chain shortages, communications blackouts, and travel disruptions,” the US Embassy said of the crisis in Ethiopia, on its website.

Safaricom has not issued an official statement on the impact of the conflict and evacuation efforts from Ethiopia.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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