Ethiopia considers opening media for foreign investors

The government of Ethiopia should consider to open the media industry for foreign investors, Ethiopian Investment Commission chief said.

“The media is also an investment area. So, we need to look at it. We are currently overhauling our investment legislation. One area we need to look at is, should we for instance consider the private media as an area of investment for foreigners, ” said Abebe Abebayehu, Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission.

“Currently we all know that it is closed for foreigners. That is something we should look at it. We will be happy to have the voices and consultations with the private media concerning what role foreign investors in the media may have in the Ethiopian economy,” he said.

He made the remark on Friday morning while briefing foreign and local journalists gathered to celebrate the World press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa at the African Union Commission headquarters.

Currently in Ethiopia the ruling party, federal and regional governments are the major players in the media industry of the country, along with over a dozen emerging satellite private TV stations, online media and FM radios as well as around 20 religious TV stations, mainly Christian channels. While the private printing media outlets are very small and limitted to the capital, Addis Ababa.

For long Ethiopia has been known for closing its doors for foreign investors on selected areas including banking, insurance, telecom, transportation, logistics and retail businesses, among others. Meanwhile following the coming to power of the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed a year ago, the country has been undertaking massive economic and political reforms.

The reform includes partial privatization of Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Shipping Lines, Ethiopian Electric and railways among others. It also includes fully liberalization of these sectors.