ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia will sign agreements with China’s ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in a “few weeks” to expand its mobile phone infrastructure and double subscribers to 40 million, a senior Ethiopian official said on Thursday.
ZTE Corp, China’s second-largest telecoms equipment maker, has already been involved in developing phone and internet services in the Horn of Africa nation for several years.
Africa’s rapidly expanding telecoms industry has come to symbolise the continent’s economic growth, with subscribers across the continent totalling almost 650 million last year, up from just 25 million in 2001, according to the World Bank.
“We are now poised to start the expansion. We are almost on the final stage on dealing with. . . ZTE and Huawei,” said Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopia’s deputy Prime Minister and Communications and technology minister.
“In a few weeks we will conclude the agreement and we will start the expansion,” he said.