Q&A with Aniko Szigetvari
Global Head of the TMT Group, IFC
What are your observations about the liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecom sector and its potential impact on the market?
The liberalization will not only impact the telecom sector, but will bring benefits to the economy as a whole. It is has been shown that a 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration increases GDP by 0.67%. It will also catalyze the development of the digital economy to ensure Ethiopia realizes its full growth potential.
What does the IFC see as high priority investment areas in the Ethiopian ICT sector?
We believe that there is a pressing need to invest in enabling telecom infrastructure, such as fiber, towers and data centers, to accelerate the expansion of broadband connectivity and service adoption. Moreover, using a shared infrastructure model would further stimulate the drive towards ubiquitous digital services, such that more of the population avails itself of benefits of connectivity sooner than would be possible otherwise.
In what capacity is the IFC well positioned to support the development of the country’s telecom sector?
The IFC can not only furnish advice and capital to support the development of the ICT sector, but - in conjunction with other institutions of the World Bank Group - can also provide critical guidance on policy and regulatory best practices. The substantial experience we have accrued over the years in partnering with and supporting governments and telecom sector players across emerging markets at every stage of the market liberalization process can serve as an important reference as Ethiopia considers various options for evolving its ICT sector.