First direct sales into Ethio Telecom

90 million people call Ethiopia home, making it Africa's second most populous country after Nigeria. It is a country with a rich and diverse heritage, but one that is under developed in many respects, possibly influenced by the fact that 80% of the population live outside of urban areas. Mobile penetration is only 20% and Internet penetration far below that. However, with a steady GDP growth rate of 8%, many corporations, have their eyes fixed on Ethiopia as the next big prize.

Nokia has recognized the potential opportunity of doing business in Ethiopia for some time now, but there are several challenges, including a complex business environment, tight government controls and duties and taxes on mobile phones at a whopping 38%. The business is currently managed out of our Pan MEA operations in Dubai. Following a great deal of effort and cross-functional collaboration, Nokia IMEA is proud to announce our first direct sale of mobile phones into Ethiopia, through the official operator, Ethio Telecom (managed by Orange FT).

"This sale is significant to Nokia because of the door it opens into Ethiopia," says Grant Marais, General Manager for Nokia Pan MEA. "The first order with Ethio Telecom equates to several million US dollars on products such as Nokia 1616, 1280 and C2-01, but the true value lies beyond this order in having managed to find a direct channel to literally millions of under-served consumers in Ethiopia. This achievement is thanks to the tireless efforts of many, but I would specifically like to thank Carlos Freitas for driving this landmark deal."

"An important pillar within the Africa Strategy is establishing business in new territories and building out those countries to gain further leadership in Africa. Ethiopia is one of the biggest opportunities in Africa, and this sale marks a significant milestone as the first tangible result from those efforts and increased investment," added Brad Brockhaug, Head of Sales, Africa.