Tag Archives: EthioTelecom

Ethiopia in hot privatization bids

1 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Valuations and other preparations for the privatization process of major public enterprises is ongoing, Capital learned.

Brook Taye, an adviser at Ministry of Finance, said that the relevant bodies in specific areas are working on the process of privatizing local enterprises.

He said that placing a value on sugar factories is expected to be finished in the near future. The sugar sector is expected to be the first sector to realize the initiative of privatizing mega public businesses.

Its request for proposal (RFP) has been concluded for some selected factories and about ten companies including local firms have been shortlisted for further steps.

“The valuation work of all 13 sugar factories will be finalized within 40 days. The technical assessment is being undertaken and in the second week of November the public consultation will be held in the specific sector,” Brook said.

“The government is also coming with the sugar policy and regulatory framework or proclamation to manage the sugar business, price and operation in the production process of managing the relationship of industries and out growers,” the advisor added.

Even though the country has a huge potential in the sugar sector it has been importing significant amounts of the sweet to fill the market gap, while new sugar factories are expected to surplus the business which hopes to export sugar eventually.

Brook also said that the initiative with the logistics work has been also finalized and sent for decision to the macroeconomic committee that is chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The structure recommendation is the main area of focus anticipated from the committee on the logistics sector according to Brook. “We are waiting for the decision of the committee for further process,” the Advisor said.

One of the areas the government decided to open is the logistics sector. Last year the government has allowed foreign actors to invest up to 49 percent on the logistics business. Following the decision some local firms are making deals with foreign business partners.

The government has also working to sell shares in the state logistics and shipping giant, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), which is the only state owned shipping enterprise and sole cross continent shipping enterprises in Africa.

ESLSE is one of the oldest and profitable enterprises in the country, while the logistics sector is criticized by stakeholders by its poor operation, which is one of the challenges on doing business in the country.

The energy sector is also looking in two sides; the debt rearranging and reform of the sector, according to Brook.

“The roadmap will also look at the overall structure of the energy sector, which is mainly the electric sector,” he said.
According to the advisor the work on the industrial park is also ongoing.





The numbing experience of living through Africa’s growing internet shutdowns, Ethiopia’s included

24 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The internet shutdown that engulfed Ethiopia last week caught many by surprise.

While at the hotel on the morning of June 11, I lost connectivity midway through writing an email to a source. Half an hour later, I walked into a branch of the country’s sole mobile operator Ethio Telecom to purchase a SIM card. After setting up my device, the saleswoman couldn’t understand why the internet wasn’t connecting on my phone. Maybe your handset, she innocently quipped, is “too old” or “has a problem.”

At the time, what I—and she, hopefully—didn’t know then was that we were in the early hours of a days-long, nationwide digital blackout. Authorities restricted social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram and disabled SMS text messaging in measures aimed at deterring cheating during national secondary school exams.

What followed was a numbing, exasperating experience, akin to waking up in a subterranean, benighted world. Besides impacting businesses increasingly reliant on online transactions, the internet suspension also devastated the operations of the nascent but rising tech sector popularly known as Sheba Valley.

There has been a marked rise in recorded web disruptions globally, but African countries are dominating the leader board of national shutdowns in 2019. SudanDR Congo, and Chad are among countries that entered the year totally or partially offline, and they have since been joined by the likes of AlgeriaBenin, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, and Somalia. The orders for these interruptions are mostly coming from those at the helm, with dictatorships and partial democracies the biggest offenders. Regulators and telecommunication companies aren’t providing advance warnings or justification for these suspensions too—even though some have linked them to preserving public safety, limiting hate speech, and reducing exam cheats.

Given the alarming frequency of these stoppages, “we have surely reached a new high which is becoming a major concern for Africans,” says the Africa regional bureau director for the Internet Society, Dawit Bekele.

Africa is the least-connected continent globally, but the upsurge in smartphone adoption, decreasing data costs, and declining phone prices has only amplified the place of the internet as a transformative tool. That’s why the blackouts are harmful not just for economic growth and democracy but also for social cohesion, innovation, net neutrality, and freedom of expression. Besides targeted shutdowns, authorities are also using surveillancearbitrary legislation, along with taxation to silence digital users.

Chart from TheAtlas.com

There isn’t an “obvious pattern” to the cut-offs too, says Alp Toker, director of internet monitoring organization NetBlocks. Authoritarian-leaning governments have continued to shut the internet at the first sign of public criticism, Toker argues, but they have been joined by countries like Benin and Liberia where there were high hopes for change.

The internet censorship in Sudan has also worsened after Omar al-Bashir was forced out of power in April, and Algeria has continued nationwide social media blackouts which were a hallmark of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s rule.

“The tipping point is here,” Toker notes. “Indeed, it may be that the tipping point has come and gone—there’s circumstantial evidence [which] suggests that shutdowns have been greatly underreported and we are only now waking to the problem.”

The internet in Ethiopia came back on for a while with operator Ethio Telecom apologizing for the interruptions. But that doesn’t necessarily vindicate the company, which has again blocked accessfollowing a thwarted coup attempt. It also doesn’t assuage the fear, frustration, and anger felt by millions of users who have to repeatedly endure cut-offs.

Rather than turning to “shutdowns as a policy tool,” Dawit says “Governments should be cognizant that shutdowns affect many sectors of society and it’s imperative to engage in an open exchange to seek alternative ways of addressing legitimate issues.”


/Quartz Africa





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