The provider of Internet connectivity by optical fiber Liquid Telecom, wants to enter the Eritrean telecoms market. Strive Masiyiwa, the executive director of its parent company, Econet Global Limited, said in a Facebook post posted on February 20.
He wrote: “I am now planning a trip to Eritrea, the last country without broadband Internet.”
The Zimbabwean businessman’s statements came after Liquid Telecom launched its broadband services in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Strive Masiyiwa’s interest in Eritrea is justified by the low rate of telecommunications penetration still experienced by the populations of this small country in northeast Africa, located on the Red Sea coast. In their Digital Report 2020, We Are Social and Hootsuite reveal that out of a population of 3.52 million inhabitants, the penetration rate of mobile telephony is only 20%. Or 711,000 people accessing the mobile service. The Internet penetration rate is only 8.3%. Or 293,300 people.
Eritrea is currently, after Ethiopia, the last telecoms market in Africa where only the public company operates: Eritrea Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel). Despite several questions from the World Bank on the need to liberalize the national telecommunications sector, given the definite impact on socio-economic development, the Eritrean government has been slow to open the market to competition.
Liquid Telecom, which is well aware of the dormant business opportunities in the country, hopes to drop off its luggage there.