Safaricom has crossed the one million mark in subscriber numbers in Ethiopia just a month after the launch of operations in the populous nation, indicating the telco’s warm reception.
The revelation was made via a live broadcast screen count that was shared across social media platforms on Wednesday.
Just last week, while announcing its half-year financial results, the company said it had acquired 740,000 subscribers by the end of October, generating Sh98.3 million in revenue from the market in the first month of operations.
This means that the telco has gained a subscriber base of 260,000 users in two weeks, translating to an average of 18,000 sign-ups daily.
The Kenyan firm is battling with Ethiopia’s state-owned monopoly, ethio-telecom to control the country’s expansive market of 110 million mobile users.
Safaricom is one of several Kenyan firms that have been salivating for the Ethiopian market given its huge population, which comes second in Africa after Nigeria’s.
Ethio Telecom boasts a customer base of 58.7 million, making it the biggest single-country subscriber base of any operator on the continent.
Ethiopia restarts sale of Ethio Telecom stake, new telecom license
Ethiopia has reactivated the process of selling a 40 percent stake in state-owned ethio telecom and a separate plan to issue a second full telecoms license, the finance ministry and telecoms regulator said.
The telecoms industry is seen as the big prize in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s push to free up the economy, but efforts to lure investment have been hit by a nearly two-year war in northern Tigray that has killed thousands and uprooted millions.
The government is asking international companies to submit expressions of interest for the partial sale of Ethio Telecom, a finance ministry document showed.
Ethiopia’s Communication Authority (ECA) said it had also revived plans to issue a second full-service telecoms license to a third telecoms company.
“ECA now plans to resume the licensing process for a third license or the second new full-service nationwide telecommunications license,” it said in a statement.
The regulator also stated that it was inviting potential bidders and any other interested parties to participate in a consultation process. It intended to launch a formal tender process for the license by the middle or end of January 2023, its director general, Balcha Reba, told Reuters.
Court suspends FG, Ethiopian Airlines partnership
A Federal High Court in Lagos issued an order of interim injunction restraining the Nigerian government from proceeding with the establishment of its proposed national carrier.
The Cable reported that the temporary injunction was given in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 and filed by registered trustees of the Airline Operators in Nigeria (AON), Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airline Company Limited, and Top Brass Aviation Limited, the plaintiffs.
It said Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, who granted the order on Friday, November 12, 2022, ruled that an order of maintenance of the status quo by all the parties in the suit restrained them from taking any further step(s) in relation to the subject matter of the suit pending when the determination of the Motion on Notice is granted.
About eight domestic airlines sued the FG in court, listing Nigerian Air, Ethiopian Airlines, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as defendants.
Among other things, the airlines want the court to stop the national carrier deal and withdraw the Air Transport license already issued to Nigeria Air by the Federal Government and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Ethiopian woman among seven executed in mass execution in Kuwait
Kuwait has carried out its first executions in five years, hanging seven people, including two women, despite pleas for clemency from international human rights campaigners.
The state-run KUNA news agency described those executed as all having been convicted of premeditated murder and other charges in the sheikhdom.
It identified those killed as three Kuwaiti men, one Kuwaiti woman, a Syrian man, a Pakistani man, and an Ethiopian woman.
Kuwait said the executions took place at its Central Prison. It did not identify the method it used to carry out the executions, though the sheikhdom typically hangs its condemned prisoners.
“They deprived the victims of their most sacred right in this world, which is the right to life,” Kuwait’s public prosecution said in a statement.
Executions are fairly rare in Kuwait, which has the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves. The last before 2017 were carried out in 2013, when a Pakistani, a Saudi, and a “Bidoon”—a name used in the emirate for people without citizenship—were hung.
Somalia: Children are dying of hunger amid severe drought
Almost half of the 16 million people who live in Somalia are facing extreme hunger. More than a third of the east African nation’s five million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Hunger and the health complications it causes are putting one Somali child in a healthcare facility every minute.
Somalia’s children are among the youngest victims of climate change.
The security situation in Somalia, where the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terror group holds significant ground, blocking humanitarian work, is contributing to the catastrophe, but other human actions are also to blame.
A 2020 survey ranked Somalia as the second-most vulnerable nation to the impacts of climate change in the world, and the drought is how that risk manifests.
Many of the children being admitted to Somalia’s hospitals don’t make it.
Abdullahi Yusuf told us that, in this day and age, it’s simply “not fair” that children should lack access to food and basic medical care.
Kenya’s President deploys Special Police Units after violent crime surge
The Kenyan President, William Ruto, has ordered the deployment of special police units in the capital after a series of violent daytime attacks.
The Tuesday deployment of the General Service Unit (GSU) and Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) police is part of an intervention approved by the Cabinet to reduce surging criminal activities in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Ruto said the special police units will increase security surveillance.
The GSU police are usually deployed to handle riots or extreme insecurity situations. The daily Nation newspaper reports that officers from the unit were spotted patrolling the streets on Tuesday.
Some security analysts in Nairobi describe the government’s approach to the situation as quick but unsustainable.
Security expert George Musamali told VOA that the special units are not the best solution to the crime problem.
Muggings and stabbings in the capital have increased, according to Kenya’s national police service. In one incident that circulated on social media, a man on a motorcycle snatched a cellphone from an individual in a parking lot in broad daylight.
On Monday, police released a list of crime hotspots in the capital, warning the public to avoid them.
Experimental Ebola vaccines sent to curb Uganda’s fast-moving outbreak
Experimental Ebola vaccines are set to arrive in Uganda next week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, as the deadly outbreak continues to spread.
It is hoped the shots will play a critical role in curbing the epidemic, which, since late September, has infected 163 people and killed 77 across nine regions of Uganda, including the capital Kampala.
The outbreak has been caused by a relatively rare type of Ebolavirus, known as the Sudan strain, which has not been recorded since 2012.
While there are now vaccines to combat the more common Zaire strain, which have been instrumental in halting several recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these do not work against the virus currently spreading in Uganda.
The WHO said a committee of external experts had assessed the safety, efficacy, and availability of the three Sudan strain vaccine candidates that could soon be deployed. It recommended that all be included in planned trials in Uganda.
“WHO and Uganda’s Minister of Health have considered and accepted the committee’s recommendation,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (PhD), the WHO Director-General, told journalists on Wednesday.
One million trees to be planted in Kenya by GAA stars next week
One million trees are set to be planted in communities around Kenya by 50 Irish GAA players next week as part of “Plant the Planet,” a joint project with Self Help Africa.
Players from across the different GAA codes are set to travel to Nairobi on Saturday before spending seven days planting a mixture of fruit, nut, and cover trees, which will support the local landscape and communities.
A number of varieties will be planted, including those that can help to rehabilitate soil by reintroducing various nutrients, such as nitrogen. This will ultimately facilitate stronger crop yields and help boost the local agri-food economy.
Mango, papaya, passionfruit, citrus, cashew, and macadamia nut trees will also be planted in the region. In addition to combating food shortages, it is hoped that they will bring increased income to the local farmers, who will have ownership of the trees once planted.
This project comes at a time when East Africa is experiencing its worst food crisis in 40 years, as a result of four consecutive crop failures caused by severe drought caused by climate change.