Safaricom Ethiopia launches operations in Tigray

Safaricom Ethiopia launches operations in Tigray

Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia announced on Monday that it has launched commercial operations in the war-torn Tigray region, and is in the process of building a 4G network that will be upgradeable to 5G.

In a statement, Safaricom said the expansion into Tigray is being executed in two phases. The first phase – which has just been completed – involved construction of 125 towers constructed by Safaricom. The second phase will add another 166 towers to reach cities in Northern and Western Tigray.

Safaricom said this phased approach “ensures we build an independent, state-of-the-art 4G network that is 5G-ready.” No timeline was given for when the phases will be completed.

Safaricom also said it has established a regional office in Tigray employing a dozen people, with more recruitment underway. Meanwhile, the operator said that its Tigray operation will indirectly create thousands of jobs “through partnerships with local companies for distributing airtime, SIM cards, devices, and producing branding materials.”

Safaricom also thanked the Interim Regional Government of Tigray “for the active support we received in making this project a reality.”

The interim government was established by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in March 2023 in the aftermath of the ruinous war between the Ethiopian federal government and Eritrea, and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The war lasted from November 2020 to November 2022, killing as many as 600,000 people, according to a study from Ghent University, while tens of thousands of people were displaced.

Tigray is still struggling to recover from the war, hampered in no small part by its worst drought in 40 years and a locust invasion that is projected to cut this year’s harvest in half, according to Oxfam. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported in August 2023 that the Ethiopian government estimates reconstruction in Tigray will cost around US$20 billion.

Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.