Safaricom’s share price at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has hit an all-time high of Ksh43.50 after the telco won the Ethiopian Telecommunication licence under the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium.
On Monday, the telco recorded a surge in investors crowding its counters to buy shares, prompting the rise in price per share.
The Safaricom led consortium that includes Vodafone, Vodacom, CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation won the award after submitting a financial bid of $850 million (Ksh91.8 billion).
The Consortium beat the MTN Group to clinch the licence in Ethiopia, one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets.
“The Council of Ministers has unanimously made a historic decision today allowing Ethiopian Communications Authority to grant a new nationwide telecom license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which offered the highest licensing fee and a very solid investment case,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Twitter on Saturday.
“With over $8 billion total investment, this will be the single largest FDI into Ethiopia to date. Our desire to take Ethiopia fully digital is on track. I would like to thank all that have taken part in this and for pulling off a very transparent and effective process,” he said.
Ethiopia, with a population of about 100 million, has a penetration rate of 44 per cent.
Safaricom hopes to leverage on the licence to introduce M-Pesa into the Ethiopian market, a move that had been blocked before by the government.
M-Pesa is one of the biggest income earner for Safaricom, having generated Ksh35.89 billion in six months to September 2020.