Telecom Equipment & Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) is set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Ministry of Communications, Government of India for promotion of exports of Telecom Equipment and Services. TEPC plays an increasingly important role in helping the Government in formulation of appropriate policies by making recommendations on strengthening domestic product development & manufacturing and creation of an environment conducive for increasing exports of telecom equipment & services.  TEPC strives to provide a formidable platform to its members for increasing their export business by various promotional activities such as participation in international exhibitions, setting up of highly focused ‘international B2B’ meets in India & abroad and establishing trade links abroad.

To reiterate the relationship and commitment between India Ethiopia and other African countries, Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) with support of the Ministry of Communications under Champion Sector Scheme has planned to host the next ‘India Africa ICT Expo’ on August 9-10, 2023 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event would bring together over 60+ ICT companies from India, Ethiopia and other African countries. The expo should attract over 1000+ business visitors.

India Africa ICT Expo is an international event to build partnership between India, Ethiopia and adjoining countries in ICT Industry. As you are aware, India has experience building telecommunication & IT infrastructure by fibre and wireless networks, broadband connectivity solutions, ICT software and applications applicable for licensed service providers, private and government networks, secured networks, green telecom solutions, disaster management, M2M, Smart city solutions and much more.

Ethiopian ICT Sector – At a Glance:

Since 2018, the government of Ethiopia has been taking steps to liberalise and privatise its industries, including that of the telecom sector. In 2019, it established the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) with the function of issuing licenses for private telecom operators and overall sector regulation. Ethiopia’s telecom monopoly ended in 2021, when, apart from the incumbent telecom operator, Ethio Telecom (formerly Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, ETC), ECA awarded Safaricom Ethiopia the country’s first private sector operator license. Safaricom Ethiopia began operations the following year, claiming over 300,000 subscribers in its first few weeks. Safaricom Ethiopia started service first in smaller cities like Diredawa and Bahirdar is now expanding its network to the capital of Addis Ababa. On the heels of this successful liberalisation, ECA officials have stated that a second operator license is expected to be tendered to an international private telecom operator in 2023.

Beyond operating licenses, other opportunities are emerging within Ethiopia’s telecom sector, including mobile money, fintech and network towers. In 2021 Ethio Telecom, the state-owned mobile operator, rolled out TeleBirr, its mobile money product. For the time being, only Ethio Telecom is permitted to provide mobile financial service. However, reports indicate that mobile payment systems will be allowed to private mobile operators, thus, it is expected that Safaricom Ethiopia will eventually introduce its popular M-Pesa mobile banking product once the National Bank of Ethiopia approves its permit request. The second private operator would also be expected to receive similar permission. As competition in Ethiopia’s telecom sector ramps up, mobile penetration continues to rise, and mobile money integrates into Ethiopians’ everyday lives, opportunities for ancillary fintech services such as e-commerce, lending, transfers, and other mobile apps are similarly poised to grow.

Moreover, rising demand is necessitating the expansion of the country’s telecom infrastructure. To date, there are about 7,000 cell phone towers across Ethiopia, however, ECA estimates tower demand in excess of 9,000. It is learned that the government of Ethiopia is considering permitting private investors to build telecom towers in Ethiopia with a decision expected during the year 2023.

The opening of Ethiopia’s Internet and Telecom sector offers key opportunities for innovative India companies. Therefore, there is also a great potential for Fintech firms with experience supporting mobile financial services & hi-tech tower building companies for IT-related infrastructure projects. CS Ethiopia will continue to monitor and report on opportunities relating to the opening up of the country’s telecommunications sector.