Djibouti to sell minority stake in incumbent operator
Djibouti, the Red Sea country where many subsea cables land, is opening up its state-owned telecoms operator to outside investment.
The government published at the weekend a bill allowing sales of stakes in public enterprises and has followed that by announcing that it will sell a significant minority stake in Djibouti Telecom to “a leading strategic partner”.
Djibouti’s president since 1999, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, said this is an urgent move, “to accelerate the pace of reforms concerning public sector companies, to better cope with international and regional competition, and so that they fully participate in the national effort of emergence and financing of development”.
His announcement follows only a month after Ethiopia confirmed it is seeking responses from companies interested in taking a 40% stake in its incumbent, Ethio Telecom.
Djibouti has not announced what percentage of its incumbent will be on sale. The country has a population of only 920,000 – overshadowed by Ethiopia’s 112 million – but it is a crucial location in global telecoms infrastructure.
LinkedIn says that Djibouti Telecom is led by Mohamed Assoweh Bouh, director general, who has been in charge since 2014. He has a Facebook blog that he has not updated since 2017. Djibouti Telecom itself has updated its website only once since 2013, and that was in 2019.
According to TeleGeography’s submarine cable map (pictured), nine cables land, or will land, in Djibouti City, the capital, and a further three in nearby Haramous.
Djibouti is also the terminus of a new 754km railway line from Addis Ababa, along which Ethio Telecom and Djibouti Telecom are running a fibre connection.
The government of Djibouti said: “The opening of Djibouti Telecom’s share capital is a strong and additional sign of the government’s determination to implement a proactive policy to modernise the country’s economy, increase global competitiveness, and optimize the governance and management of state-owned enterprises.”
The investment will be overseen by a new Multisectoral Regulatory Authority of Djibouti, which is being led by Abdi Ilmi Achkir, appointed director general at the weekend. The government also appointed Ali Mohamed Dimbio as president of the National Communication Commission and Badria Zakaria Cheick Ibrahim as a member of the commission.