Safaricom might be new in Ethiopia, but it is definitely not new to business deals. According to Business Insider Africa, Safaricom’s first infrastructure deal with Ethiopia is a five-year lease agreement with state-owned power utility Ethiopian Electric Power Enterprise to share dark fibre-optic infrastructure in Ethiopia.
During the signing ceremony, Mr. Anwar Soussa, the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom Ethiopia, expressed gratitude to the management of EEP Enterprise for the partnership.He said, “We are grateful for the spirit of cooperation from EEP on the win-win partnership to support our contributions to the digital transformation of Ethiopia. Such infrastructure sharing agreements will enable us to fulfil our commitment to transform Ethiopian lives for a digital future and will contribute to efforts being made to the phased operation launch.
The Chief Executive Officer of EEP Enterprise, Mr. Ashebir Balcha, had this to say about the agreement and about what both parties hoped to gain from the business relationship. “The agreement we signed to share our Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) infrastructure will enable Ethiopian Electric Power to utilise its resources and increase its revenue, while enabling Safaricom Ethiopia to provide quality and competitive telecommunication services.”
OPGW is one of the most reliable fibre optic mediums for Ethiopians in all corners of the country. And over the course of a few decades, Ethiopia Electric Power Enterprise has built a network of OPGW cables along core cables, and it is expected that Safaricom will utilise those instead of building new ones. The first phase of the lease agreement allows Safaricom to share 4,097km, the second phase, 2,078km, and the third phase, 2,904km of optic fibre lines.Safaricom’s network will be enhanced by using EEP’s high voltage transmission.
Ethiopia’s state-owned electric producer currently has 15,000 km of fibre optics lines, of which some 8,745 km are leased to Ethio-Telecom. Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is expected to earn up to 140 million ETB ($2.7 million) a year in the first phase of the infrastructure lease agreement with Safaricom Ethiopia.