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Ethiopia expands the mobile-phone network but tightens its grip
Aug 24th 2013 | NAIROBI |From the print edition
ETHIOPIA has Africa’s last big telecoms monopoly. The absence of competition has seen a country of more than 80m lag badly behind the rest of the continent in an industry that has generally burgeoned alongside economic growth. Mobile-phone penetration, which averages 70% of the population elsewhere in Africa, is closer to 25% in Ethiopia. A paltry 2.5% of Ethiopians have access to the internet, compared with 40% in neighbouring Kenya.
Ethiopia’s authoritarian leaders are as keen as any on the economic benefits of modern telecoms but fear the political ramifications; pesky dissidents become even more irritating when wired. That explains a $1.6 billion agreement with China’s two leading telecoms-equipment companies to upgrade its network. The deal with Huawei and ZTE will preserve Ethiopia’s state dominance and further put off the opening up of one of Africa’s largest economies.
Ethiopia became one of africa’s largest economies without a drop of oil.
So, what’s wrong if our govt preserve “the cash cow", all vultures from outside are salivating to put their hands on.
Ethiopian govt is practical. Not only talk. You’ve seen all the infrastructures being built.
And that’s how we do it. Just stop meddling in our business. And learn.
Pesky Dissidents….meaning the crazy Islamists.
Scientists really need to research why this Religion pushes people to kill and mistreat women.
Ethiopia will forge ahead and not intimidated by these nut-heads.
“Customers grumble that its slogan should be “Disconnecting Ethiopia from the future”.”
First in spying but dead last in telecommunications. That is all they do with the money from China buy the latest spying equipment.
Thank you the economist. The face of Ethiopia on mobile is a new way to show its diverse people and religious life. Very colorful indeed as our Somali friends become makers of the nation like everybody else.
“..What the government wants from China are cheap loans and more control over its citizens. “
so what is the Dilemma of the Agazi Bandits ,fearing the peoples uprisal ,they consider IT technologies as a Threat for the survival of their evil regime .The greatest JOKE even their Chinese masters assistance
has shown its own limits .Their campaign of jamming Patriotic and Foreign Medias has become more and more without any effect .The fact that ESAT
TV can be seen actually in Ethiopia .By the way Adgi and Nostradamus ,don’t you know that even your daily garbages that
you are posting on this site for the sake of your bandit masters ,can not be reach in the country .HERE ARE THEN YOUR SO CALLED RIGHTS OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH
GARANTEED BY YOUR BANDIT MASTERS…LOL !!!TCHINKILATEBIS MORON BANDAS !!!!!!!!!
Worth no comment. But…
The neo-Liberals economic policy which is an economic colonization is failed and dead as far as we, Ethiopians concern. Meles Gets the biggest credit for exposing it internationally and totally opposing it in Ethiopia now and never in the future either.
foreign big business controlling or even having any ownership about the nation very important economic sectors such as bank/finance, Energy, telecom, Water supply, land/farming, Infrastructure including land and air Transport and other important sector is seen as modern colonization legally with resource looting, workers exploiting, owning markets/consumers and damaging the nation future in the long term.
The Ethiopian government must not and will not allow the above mentioned and other important sectors to be in any foreign hands but always keeping them on the government/people tight hand, strong ownership and high responsibilities.
What is the justification Ethiopian companies or anything has to do with Ethiopia be owned by foreign companies/individuals in order the benefit to be taken by foreigners while Ethiopians are created equally as any human and have the duty to own everything in their country and have totally their destiny on their own hand?
The economic colonization in the name of privatization and foreign investors must be treated as a fret in the long run if not managed very wisely and limited its space to the very limited amount and low level sectors until Ethiopians able to own and manage Ethiopia by themselves in all development activities at all sectors.
The government policy of 70/30 student’s admission policy is the best to achieve that goal. Ethiopia needs more practical and capable citizens in the production sectors. Companies/factories in Ethiopia must be run and own by Ethiopians. This must be the long term plan within daily activities to reach there.
Economist is the known mouth shit to the Liberal-democratic policy/agenda meaning the economic colonizers in the 21-century propaganda machine run by them. So, who expects anything else other than thins kind article from them.
Adgi ,if in Neighboring countries such as Kenya and even the
war torn Somalia ,if Telecom and IT have improved is because there are undeniable facts on the ground .But concerning your so called economy miracle of your bandit masters ,there is “NOTHING”
than the usual fake digits printings . It’s not just by museling the peoples that you thuggy guys
can silence them more.
These morons just don’t get it. We ain’t selling!!!
The title is a typical “Neo-Liberal” slogan. The phrase “tightens its grip” sounds like there is a change of policy that gives the government more control.
How can you tighten a grip if you already have 100% control.
EthioTelecom will stay in the hands of the Ethiopian People and will be managed by their government.
Competition is the engine for creative ideas and innovations. The mind that innovates can’t innovate unless forged and stimulated to utilize its potential. While I agree with the writer with some of the points he/she made, it is pretty obvious the half-intention of this article was to take a dig at China. The West facing stiff competition from China and losing the battle of market expansion and control, understandably irate seems to retort writing articles like this one and more. Meanwhile China is expanding its presence in otherwise overlooked or ignored parts of the world with its readily available, attractive interest rates and vital involvement in other infrastructure building and expansion projects, countries like Ethiopia has no better choice than embracing the opportunity. The West must change its attitude and practices in order to compete against China. Often unnecessary decrying of Amnesty int., environmental organizations, western journalists who still write with the same condescending tone and narrative from 40 or 50 years ago, might just not cut it. Developing countries need true partners not condescending masters. Writing something like “Yidnek Haile, a student in Addis Ababa, was arrested two years ago for showing customers at an internet café how to make online calls.”, doesn’t necessarily help to start a serious conversation. Cut the BS and try to pave the way for true partnership.
In today’s age, information is extremely important for any country that is seriously engaged in nation building. The Ethiopian government must change its archaic way of thinking when it comes to serious subject like telecommunication. It has to keep up with the daily evolving telecom and internet technology in order to grow and compete in the global market of today and tomorrow. It should loosen up its grip on something that it clearly doesn’t have the capability to manage and must let the private sector play a major role in improving and expanding our IT infrastructure. It is unacceptable not to have extensive broadband services. It is unacceptable blocking every venue that can help us to walk away from dial up internet, come on it is 2013!
the cyber homo/ AddisZemen is always at it jumping and glamorizing his masters’ every step.
The TPLFites breath and he is there is on Nazret worshipping them.
Come on dude get a life !!
What a shameful Silte weyane wannbe even if for chum change
I get annoyed at the sad statistics for my homeland. But what is even worse is that these cyber flies for the Thuhgtator weyane Shifta cirlce regurgitate their bosses’ lie!!!
I only wish death to all the cyber cadres.
EVERYBODY YOU HAVE TO MUST WATCH THIS (Obama’s soccer skills at Tully Cental High School soccer practice) CBS NEWS VIDEO WHEN HE TALKING ETHIOPIAN MAN
The Economist thanks for telling the truth.
Ethiopian authoritarian leaders live in fear of Ethiopians because of their own one tribe excessively controlling wealth and power, greedy, unethical, and brutal policy.
I have been to Ethiopia many times and everywhere you go you will find armed to teeth armies roaming around like it is normal.
Police are only used as traffic guides and for minor disorderly situations. When one enters to a shopping mall, banks or everywhere else you have to be body and purse searched or padded.
Armies are roaming around in cities not in their barracks, protecting territories and boundaries where they are supposed to be. Ethiopia is a police state where citizens have no freedom.
Less than 1% of Ethiopoians have mobile-phones and that is owned and spied on by the same authoritaruan EPRDF/TPLF regime.
EPRDF/TPLF is a disastrous regime failing miserably.
According to the article 40% of Kenya’s population have access to the Internet Compare to 2.5% in Ethiopia. That is nothing to brag about son . A lot of African countries are ahead of us when it comes to economic growth and inferstructure. You always brag in here, and that makes me wonder how many African countries you have visited to truly know what you are talking about? I bet zero would be the answer. No, Eritrea doesn’t count.
In this day and age how do you expect the private sector to grow without Internet service? It is simple economics, that an economic can truly grow when the private sector grows.
Ah, The Economist, what a disappointment again!
I used to subscribe to The Economist for many years and I was one of their esteemed customers who still believes in “Capitalism with Passion/Social Responsibility".
Enter, Fascist-Shabiya’s Badme War between 1998-2000 …
Then The Economist got the origins as well as the real causes of the war completely wrong and consequently its much revered and authoritative editorialship and high quality journalism statrted to degenerate into provocative hearsay and outright speculation in the same league with the notorious gutter press of the anti-Ethiopia groupie.
Just one simple & ordinary incident would suffice to back-up my encounter with them … This particular statement is still very vivid in my memory … I happen to detect a ridiculous paragraph stashed away deep inside the long article while attentively reading it between the lines, and the article was analysing the 1999 blitz-krieg in one of its editions in this case when The Economist uncharacterstically made a passing remark with regard to the personalities of PM Meles Zenawi & Shum-Bahri Isayas Afewerki by way of direct comparison. It was pure prejudice & utter biogtry in public display …
Dear fellow Ethiopian reader, do you really want to know what it had written comparing the above individuals?
It said, Meles was physically a … but inherently a full-blooded intellectual who is well versed in this & that profession (which I do concur absolutely!) while it tried to explain Issays with the same breath as “a tall & handsome” fellow with a strong tendency to dictate every issue with his own exclusive will/resolve …
Now you might retort with a glaring expression, what then is your beef with the above comparison since the explanation on both is a matter of fact … Literally speaking, you are only partially right, dear reader.
What really pissed me off with such irrelevant story was/is that both are of course Tigrewoch/Tigrayans through & through. In the trans-Mereb Tigray (i.e. Ethiopia’s Tigray-ptoper & Artera’s KebesaTigray) we do have millions of individual citizens who happen to be physically short & tall, fairly light skinned & a bit dark skinned & etc … You know all Ethiopians without exceptions from RasKassar to Moyale and from Itang to Ayisha come with all hues & physical features.
I even wrote directly addressed to the Editor-in-Chief to point out my deep disappintments at the dismal handling of the entire Ethiopia-Artera border war reportage by his Africa editors in their hollow analysis … He responded thanking me for my constructive criticism with an appology letter in which he promised to improve their performace in the future and write their news analysis with responsible professionalism.
However, despite a strong protest from my beloved wife who is still in favour of subscribing to the print edition, it was such a dismal performance on the part of The Economist that I finally decided to terminate my yearly subscription to The Economist some 8 years ago!
Look at what they are writing now … The Economist should have known better than most others when it comes to national wealth creation & early stages of capital accumulation.
Thanks but no thanks, Ethiopia does NOT need a cherry picking capitalist (mode of) development.
There is no problem with the government to keep the cash flow but the problem is it is restricting people from taking advantage of the time
The government could have made more money if it allows computation.
The people can be in charge of their own life
More investors will follow
Consumers will have a choice that directly create market and innovation.
I think you brain has been blocked to see the simple facts such as the relationship between demand and supply, consumer and market. This is not a rocket science. It is just how it works and my poor farmer parents don’t have a problem understanding it.
Ethiopian need more competition in order to get the best service to get meaning if only the government is providing the service its indeed monopoly and no progress.
There you go Addis Fart the hardest working cadre ass on earth. He is pandering fake patriotism and non- existent progress as usual. This guy is amazing, empty-head partisan robot. No reflections, no thinking or analysis of the given topic whatsoever. One except panders if there any other life to live for him exspreading tplf cheap propaganda.
It is common knowledge that competition in the internet age opens up not only political dialogue but also knowledge, curiosity, ideas, art and many other areas that enrich lives people’s lives and results in creativity in business and science.
Ethiopia is falling behind. By now, Ethiopia should have had at least 10 independent television stations and 4 independent internet service providers. While security is and should be the top priority, a monopoly (and therefore strict control) on communications is not the solution. If the government is worried about losing money, they should be because they could be MAKING so much more if they privatized and taxed. I agree that banking should be tightly controlled because we have seen what happens in banking in other African countries, but not communication.
It has also been shown that even in third world countries, the more the more the connectivity and competition, the faster the GDP growth.
I believe that history will show that EPRDF has done a very good job of putting Ethiopia on solid ground for future development. But they have done an extremely poor job in the area of communication and the internet. I honestly can’t believe they can be so short-sighted.
GOD BLESS ETHIOPIA
Govern`t has responsibility to collect taxes services and can regulate the sector as it wishes but to have virtual monopoly on the sector and treating it as a `Cash Cow` is stupid outdated idea at best. It is bad business and rotten ideology as well. But now one can see the other big reason tptf gangs on the driving seat of the telecom sector like every facet of the society, which is to suppress and control citizens rights of free expression and political rights at any cost. In other words, it is dangerous and oppressive police state system run amok. Addis Fart where is the logic here without making fast and loose infantile parroting here? Why Ethiopian penetration rate is only 25% or less while the average of Africa is about whopping 70% or more? Go figure achberbari doma ras!
Govern`t has responsibility to collect taxes services and can regulate the sector as it wishes but to have virtual monopoly on the sector and treating it as a `Cash Cow` is stupid outdated idea at best. It is bad business and rotten ideology as well. But now one can see the other big reason tptf gangs on the driving seat of the telecom sector like every facet of the society, which is to suppress and control citizens rights of free expression and political rights at any cost. In other words, it is dangerous and oppressive police state system run amok.
Addis Fart where is the logic here without making fast and loose infantile parroting here? Why Ethiopian penetration rate is only 25% or less while the average of Africa is about whopping 70% or more? Go figure achberbari doma ras!
As your shameless modus operandi, don;t tell us the muslim women on the phone with scarf in the picture here is terrorist foreign agent to be watch like your fellow dumb ass Nostra Dumbus is suggesting again.
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