Safaricom Ethiopia CEO leaves company

Safaricom Ethiopia CEO leaves company

Anwar Soussa - Vodacom 16.9.jpg

Anwar Soussa will step down two years after launching Ethiopia’s second mobile network

Anwar Soussa, executive officer of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia (Safaricom), will be leaving the business on 31st July 2023, once his secondment comes to an end, the company announced on Linkedin.

Kenyan based Safaricom entered Ethiopia in August 2021 to become the second mobile network operator and ending Ethio Telecoms monopoly in the market. Soussa was the first CEO, helping set up business operations and rolling out the new network.

Despite a delayed launch, Safaricom has invested heavily in its network and has committed$3 billion in data centres and telecom infrastructure investment over the next 10 years.

During his tenure Soussa oversaw Safaricom Ethiopia acquiring over 4 million customers and helped rollout the network to cover more than 25% of the population, as was required by its licencing obligations.

Safaricom Ethiopia also secured a mobile financial services licence, paving the way for the launch of M-PESA services, a device-based money transfer, payments and micro-financing service that was launched by Safaricom and Vodafone in 2007 with a footprint across sub-Saharan Africa.

In his previous role, Soussa was a managing director for Vodafone DRC and was the chairperson of M-PESA since 2017.

Other highlights from Soussa’s tenure include securing equity investment, a loan and guarantees from the International Finance Corporation to support the ongoing construction and operation of Safaricom Ethiopia's greenfield network.

Safaricom is yet to name a successor to Soussa, but he is the second high-profile name to leave the company in three months.

Chief technology & information officer Pedro Rabacal was replaced by James Matai, in a new role which saw “information” dropped from the job title.

Elsewhere in the country, Ethiopia is seeking to renew its tender for a third mobile operator this month, reports in May 2023 claimed. The government is also looking to sell a 40% stake in Ethiotel, although plans to do so before were scrapped as a result of the conflict in the north of the country.

As a ceasefire has been signed, there are hopes that the telecoms sector will enjoy a new lease of life.

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