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Kenya not affected as Ethiopia set to close over 30 embassies in austerity measures: sources

NAIROBI, Kenya July 6 – Ethiopia is set to close more than 30 embassies across the world, but Kenya will not be affected.

Sources told Capital FM on Tuesday that it is true more than 30 embassies will be closed.

”It is true, but the Ethiopian embassy in Kenya will not be closed,” a source said, “Ethiopia considers Kenya a valuable partner and will not think of closing its embassy in Nairobi.”

Kenya has maintained very close ties with Ethiopia with increased businesses being opened in both countries, a confirmation of the growing ties between the two countries.

The latest is the award of a telecommunications license to Safaricom to operate in Ethiopia last month.

Ethiopia granted an operating license to a consortium of firms including Kenya’s Safaricom.

The consortium bid $850 million for the licence, according to senior finance ministry adviser Brook Taye.

The shake-up of the potentially lucrative sector — currently dominated by state-owned Ethio Telecom — is a cornerstone of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s economic reform agenda.

Abiy’s government planned to award two new telecoms licences, but in late April it announced it had received only two bids after some firms that initially expressed interest — including France’s Orange and the UAE’s Etisalat — opted not to submit.

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The second bid of $600 million from South Africa’s MTN was “not enough” and was therefore “rejected”, Brook said.

Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, told AFP that the second licence would soon be re-tendered.

The licences are expected to bring an infusion of cash, jobs and infrastructure investment.

The Safaricom-led consortium is set to create up to 1.5 million new jobs and bring $8.5 billion in investment over 10 years, Brook said.

It will provide 4G and 5G internet services, and by 2023 a low-orbit satellite will be put in place to provide nationwide 4G coverage, Brook added.

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