Category: "ICT"

Ethiopia - P.M. Meles Zenawi vows investment in telecoms, IT

August 22nd, 2007

ICT Statistics Ethiopia Vs Kenya

  • Ethiopia - Mobile Phone 866,700
  • Kenya - Mobile Phone 6,484,800
  • Ethiopia - Fixed Line 725,000
  • Kenya - Fixed Line 293,400
  • Ethiopia - Internet Subscribers 25,700
  • Kenya - Internet Subscribers 186,800
  • Ethiopia - Total Telephone Subscribers 1,591,700
  • Ethiopia - 2.01 Telephones per 100 inhabitants
  • Kenya - 7,778,200 Total Telephone
  • Kenya 19.31 Telephones per 100 inhabitants

All Data As of 2006
Source International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Ethiopia - P.M. Meles Zenawi vows investment in telecoms, IT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP)
- Ethiopia's prime minister Wednesday promised to invest in the country's telecommunications network, long hampered by corruption, bad service and high tariffs.

"Rapid progress for countries such as Ethiopia in this area is not a choice, but a necessity,"
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said at the opening of a three-day technology conference in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia plans to double the size of its network within the next three weeks by putting 1.2 million new phone numbers on the market.
Abdurahim Ahmed, a spokesman for Ethiopia's state-owned telecommunications corporation, said the expansion, along with technological improvements, will cost US$21.7 million (¤16.06 million).
The expansion is in addition to a US$200 million (¤148.06 million) contract to upgrade the mobile network that the government signed last May with a Chinese telecoms company.

Ahmed said improving telecommunications was «ammunition to reduce poverty.» He said the government regretted not putting greater effort into its telecommunications sector until a decade ago. «We didn't give it due attention,» he told the Associated Press.

A call from Ethiopia to neighboring Kenya costs a $1.47 (¤1.09) a minute, as does a call to Australia. International calls on one of Kenya's largest mobile networks, Celtel, vary widely, but can cost a tenth of the price, at less than 15 cents a minute, or up to $1.50 (¤1.11) a minute.

Ethiopian newspapers have reported that several senior officials at the state telecoms company have been fired for corruption in the past months.

Text messaging in Ethiopia is forbidden, after a spate of post-election violence in 2005 when opposition protesters were accused of using the service to arrange anti-government rallies.


Editor's Note:

Here is what Prime Minster Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia said in April 2005.

Universal Internet access to be launched in Ethiopia in 3 years (April 2005)

"We are fully committed to ensuring that as many of our poor as possible have this weapon that they need to fight poverty at the earliest possible time," Zenawi said. "We plan to ensure universal access and Internet connectivity to all the tens of thousands of rural kebeles (districts) of our country over the next two to three years."

Read more here

It will be exactly three years come April 2008 and it is highly unlikely that Universal Internet Access will be achieved by then. What do you think?

Related Links

Ethiopia ranked 119th in Global Tech Study

ETC begins implementing five-year strategic plan with over 37 billion birr April 2007

Universal Internet access to be launched in Ethiopia in 3 years (April 2005)

Special Section: Information and Communications Technology(ICT)

Ethiopia to host World Information Technology Forum

August 16th, 2007

Nicholas Negroponte confirmed as keynote speaker for WITFOR 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Nicholas Negroponte will give a keynote address on the first day of WITFOR 2007 on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative to be helod in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nicholas is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. He is currently on leave from MIT, where he was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. A graduate of MIT, Nicholas was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. Conceived in 1980, the Media Laboratory opened its doors in 1985. He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In the private sector, Nicholas serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

The IFIP World IT Forum (WITFOR) contributes to taking the World Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) Plan of Action a step forward and to helping developing countries to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Addis Ababa Ethiopia August 22 - 24 2007
United Nations Conference Center Addis Ababa
Total Number of Participants: 526
Total Number of Countries: 63

Related Links

Official Website of 3rd World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR)

Message from H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi Prime Minister of Ethiopia

It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all participants of the World Information Forum to be held in Addis Ababa from 22 to 24 August 2007. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia draws satisfaction from being able to host the 3rd World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) in collaboration with the International Federation for Information Processing.

The Forum, organized under the theme “ICT for Development and Prosperity” is a unique instrument for implementing the Plan of Action of the World Summit on Information Technology. As the Forum brings together ICT educators, experts and other stakeholders from across the globe, it provides developing countries with a unique opportunity to explore, and benefit from, the most recent advances in the ICT field in order to overcome their resource constraints through innovative uses of ICT tools, partnerships and resource sharing.

We, on our part, are keenly aware of the crucial role that ICT can play in the attainment of our development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. We are determined to optimally utilize ICT for the successful realization of our development strategy. The School Net Program connecting all secondary schools in Ethiopia has been effectively implemented. We have also begun connecting lower level administrative structures in our country (Kebeles and Woredas) with the view to training farmers in the use of better agricultural inputs as well as to providing them with timely information on the agricultural products market. The results registered so far have been encouraging. We intend to expand the effort we are making in the area with even greater resolve to use ICT as a vehicle for the successful realization of our Agriculture-Led Industrialization Development Policy and of our Capacity Building Programme.

It is also fitting to note that this Forum is being convened on the eve of the Ethiopian Millennium, an occasion when Ethiopians will be reflecting on their past achievements and setbacks and on the development challenges that lie ahead.

It would be remiss of me if I failed to mention the ICT divide between developed and developing countries. This divide will have to be bridged if we are to create a truly global communication community. In this regard, this Forum fulfils a pivotal function of assisting the efforts of developing countries to keep pace with the on-going technological transformation.

I wish all participants of the Forum a pleasant stay in Addis Ababa and assure them that the Government of Ethiopia will exert its utmost efforts to contribute to the successful convening of the meeting.

Meles Zenawi,

Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Source: WITFOR 2007

Ethiopia - Sudan Optical Fiber project inaugurated

August 13th, 2007

Ethiopia - Sudan Optical Fiber project inaugurated

By Kirubel Tadesse


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -
The Ethiopia-Sudan optical fiber installation project was officially inaugurated at a grand ceremony held at the Sheraton Addis on August 11, 2007.

Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), announced that a high speed and capacity international link via Sudan will be realized through the Ethio-Sudan optical fiber installation project. The implementation of Addis-Metema fiber optical line including the establishment of a link with the already existing optical network in Addis Ababa was finalized with over 118 million birr capital. The physical work of the project took about a year together with the test works.

According to ETC the prevalence of internet service interruption and traffic congestion resulting from the increasing demand of internet customers necessitated the Ethio-Sudan optical fiber installation project. Since July 2006, the corporation realized the extension of an additional 185 Km optical fiber project from Gondar up to Metema.
Siemens is the company that undertook the project which has enabled Ethiopia to be connected through the Sudan, crossing the border town of Gelebat, Sudan, and linking up with the Veraizon network based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Ethio-Sudan optical fiber project was initiated and materialized with a view of establishing high speed, cost effective, reliable and dependable international links as well as to overhauling the existing telecom infrastructure facilities and complement the international telecommunications services rendered by micro wave and satellite communications technologies by deploying cutting- edge fiber optics technology.

ETC added that the completion of this project has resulted in the substantial increment in the quality of telecom services in the country as well as at international level. The Ethio- Sudan optical fiber link which was initially at E3 (34 mb/s) has reached to STM-1 level (155 mb/s) as of January 2007. ETC’s broadband internet server now gets direct access to the server of Veraizon via Sudan and Jeddah.


Related Links from
Ethiopian News updated 24/7

Ethiopian Radio and TV Page

Ethiopian Music Comedy Video Page

Ethiopia - Can you hear me now?

August 7th, 2007

Ethiopia - Can you hear me now?

ETC mobile: Not at your service

By Kirubel Tadesse


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -
Subscribers of the mobile service of ETC in Ethiopia (Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation) said that the service is getting worse, especially in the last few weeks and that making phone calls from mobile to mobile is becoming almost impossible.

Mobile service user, Gedion Tadele said, “I have to make four or five calls to finish what I want to say, that is, if I get through in the first place. For example last Monday, I could not even make one phone call the whole day.”

Tele center owners are also upset that they say the current poor mobile network is harming their business. Tesfaye Desta, Tele Center owner around Haya Hulet Mazoreya told to Capital, “When calls end in seconds because of the network failure, our customers are not willing to pay. That can happen again and again in the middle of phone calls so I always tell everyone that if the call ends in the middle, they will pay. This upsets the customer, especially when it happens more than once. The problem existed all along but it has been getting worse in the last few weeks.”

Related Links

Special Section: Business - ICT sector

It is not the first time when ETC, the only internet, mobile and almost all type of communication services provider in Ethiopia, receives complaints from its customers. A few months back, after missing for months, the bill of many customers was calculated on averaged amount basis, which resulted in many complaints of inflated bills from customers.

On the corporation’s official website, the information available shows that mobile customers were only 57, 816 until September 2003. Even if there is no updated information available, it is believed that the service in the last four years has reached to hundred thousands subscribers and covers a substantial part of the regions. The corporation had allowed private investors to sell pre paid cards to customers, followed by the sale of the corporation’s simcards at private shops.

Some say that next to the daily increase in the demand for mobile service, the involvement of the company’s top managers in alleged corruption is affecting the performance of the corporation. A few weeks back, the corporation general manager and other top managers were charged of corruption. The corporation’s official web-site still listsTesfaye Birru, one of the accused, as managing director.
The efforts we made to get the corporation’s comments failed as we did not get any response to our query from the public relations manager.


Related Links from
Ethiopian News updated 24/7

Ethiopian Radio and TV Page

Ethiopian Music Comedy Video Page

Ethiopia - Management shakeup at ETC

July 16th, 2007

Ethiopia - Management shakeup at ETC

Addis Fortune

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -
The management of the state-owned Ethiopia telecoms monopoly, the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), has fired in mass its senior executives on Thursday, July 12, 2007, in a manner unprecedented in the Corporation’s 113 year history.

The senior managers purged last week are blamed for being at fault on the implementation of expensive projects on mobile expansion and procurement of switchboards conducted two years ago. The surprising move by the management, endorsed by the Board of Directors, is in response to a damning internal audit report last May, which exposed an “inappropriate deal” the company entered with Ericsson on a 427.3 million Br contract to expand its mobile coverage. What was agreed would have taken four months to expand mobile coverage by 425,000 subscribers has yet to be completed even after two years, according to the audit report.

The audit report has also revealed that a procurement of a switchboard made from Lucent-Alcatel at a cost of 120 million Br was conducted in breach of public procurement regulations. Although it was agreed to complete the installation in six months, it took an additional one and a half years.

“It still has problems to work properly,” Amare Amsalu, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Corporation, told Fortune.

He was not at the helm of the telecom monopoly when all these procurements were conducted, thus being spared from the purging. Not a single procurement was conducted under his watch since he took office in September 2007, replacing Tesfaye Birru.

“I have told Parliament that my management would have taken measures on these irregularities in July this year,” Amare told Fortune.

The measure is indeed unparalleled for any of his predecessors.

The purge included three of the most senior managers: Abebe Gashaw, deputy CEO responsible for technical advice, Wondimu Girma, deputy CEO advising on business, and Reta Dessie, acting deputy CEO responsible for operations.

Five department heads were also sacked last week: Robel Derresa, head of Broadband Department, Meuz Tsegaye, head of Finance and Business Control Department, Kebede G. Sellasie, head of International Service Department, and Abebu Mamo, head of Human Resource Department, and Fiseha Mekuria (PhD), head of Information Technology College Department.

The massive sacking is not limited to these senior positions. Division heads are also taken by the storm.

Eight of the 14 division heads were fired last week: including Anteneh Mekonnen, manager of Network Performance and Planning; Nigist Kebede, Mobile Planning and Technical Support; Tesfaye Adissie, Mobile Regional Network Technical Support; Takele Mengesha, Telecom Engineering; Brehanu Asfaw, Managing Accounts, and Elias Terefe, Marketing and Customer Support.

“I am a believer. I have done my job in the name of God and for my conscious,” Robel Deressa, who was served a letter of termination on Thursday, told Fortune. “I have never thought that this day would come.”

Abebu Mamo was on a leave of absence last week when Fortune reached her for comment. She was not informed of her fate at ETC, where she has served for 28 years right after graduating from Addis Abeba University (AAU).

“There is nothing I am afraid of concerning the many decisions I have participated on as a member of top management,” she told Fortune. “I will face all the consequences of my involvement.”

Many were, however, reluctant or unavailable for comment.

This is just a beginning of worse to come, warn senior sources at ETC. There will be more firing in the coming months against those who have involved in what the audit report claims were faulty deals with Nokia on mobile expansion, procurements of billing system, towers as well as cables.

There is a management administration committee created to work with
ETC’s Legal Department in deciding who should be fired.

Firing is only the start of the whole saga, according to these senior sources. The management has written a letter of appeal, attached with the audit report, the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission for probing on not only those fired last week, but also the senior managers of the previous management, including Tesfaye Birru, according to these sources. ETC’s Board of Directors had fired the top management of ETC – Abebe Belayneh, Asfaw H. Mariam, Abayneh Abebe and Taye Kebede - in October 2006.

Nevertheless, many of them have left the country, perhaps with the exception of Abyneh, who was deputy to Tesfaye and responsible for Telecom Network at the Corporation


Related Links from
Ethiopian News updated 24/7

Ethiopian Radio and TV Page

Ethiopian Music Comedy Video Page