Safaricom has denied reports of the company entering into the Ethiopian market.
The Kenyan telco had been said to be gearing up for its first venture abroad, with reports that it was in negotiations with the Ethiopian government for a stake in state-owned monopoly Ethio Telecom.
“We wish to categorically state that we are not engaged in any conversations with Ethio Telecom on this matter. Any information to the contrary is completely inaccurate,” CEO Bob Collymore told The EastAfrican.
Ethiopian media reported last week that the government had opened discussions with Safaricom on the sale of half of the shares of Ethio Telecom.
Other reports indicated that Safaricom was discussing a mobile money partnership with an Ethiopian bank.
Ethio Telecom offers slow, expensive, and unreliable phone and Internet services.
Kenya’s Principal Secretary in-charge of ICT Victor Kyalo said he had seen a tweet about the transaction.
“It is not clear whether it is Safaricom or Vodacom. I tried to check, but nobody seems to know any information. If they have, they seem to be guarding it,” Mr Kyalo told The EastAfrican. The Kenyan government owns 40 per cent of Safaricom.
Last week, Ethiopian satellite broadcaster Esat reported that both the sale of Ethio Telecom shares to Safaricom and the sale of the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel to Ethiopian-born Saudi tycoon Sheikh Mohamnmed Hussien Alamoudi, the 159th richest man in the world according to Forbes, were part of the authorities efforts to ease the forex crunch in the country and tackle indebtedness.
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