Understanding what is happening in ICT in Ethiopia

Executive summary

As demonstrated in Asian and European telecommunication systems characterised by adequate budgets and efficient administration, a state monopoly in the right circumstances can make rapid and major strides towards universal telecommunications access. Ethiopia has been trying to emulate such a trend in its own economy. Under a public monopoly, the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Ethiopia has seen substantial growth over the last five years. Mobile telecommunications grew from a mere 1.2million subscribers in 2007 to around 22million subscribers by the end of 2012. Internet and data subscribers grew sevenfold from 31 400 in 2007 to 221 000 in 2011. By 2012, the voice communication coverage had reached 64%, a significant progression given Ethiopia’s start from a low base.

The government has been investing in communications infrastructure to offset low communications penetration. A vendor credit scheme supported by US$1.5billion in finance from the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) in 2007 and implemented by the Chinese firm Zhongxing Telecom Corporation (ZTE), has generated 10 000 kms of fibre and expansion of the mobile transmission network to provide for over 30million subscribers and deliver a CDMA wireless network covering rural towns.1

The Ethiopian Government has also been investing in human resources development and e-applications to aid its expanding communications network. The national e-Government Strategy of 2011 lists over 200 e-services to be rolled out over the next two years. The Ethiopian Government has also been building a national “IT Park” with the aim of attracting IT service companies such as those involved in business process outsourcing…

Suggested citation

Adam, L. (2012). Understanding what is happening in ICT in Ethiopia (Evidence for ICT Policy Action). Research ICT Africa. https://researchictafrica.net/publication/nderstanding-what-is-happening-in-ict-in-ethiopia/