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Ethiopia: Telecoms, Airline Opened Up To Private, Foreign Investors

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Ethiopia announced on Tuesday it would open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment, a major policy shift that will loosen the state's grip on the economy.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia, with its 100 million people, has one of the most closed and controlled economies in Africa. The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement in the economy.

But the coalition said on Tuesday that Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost its exports.

"While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Power, and the Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors," it said in a statement.

It was referring to the state monopolies in the electricity, telecoms and logistics sectors, as well as the highly profitable national flag carrier.

The announcement was the first clear signal that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April promising a "new political beginning", would implement real economic reforms.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ethiopian parliament approved the government's decision to lift a six-month state of emergency two months earlier than planned.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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