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Premier Appoints Communications Authority Head


September 21 , 2019
By FASIKA TADESSE ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has named Balcha Reba as director-general of the newly formed Ethiopian Communications Authority.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has named Balcha Reba as director-general of the newly formed Ethiopian Communications Authority.

Balcha, who holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Addis Abeba University's Faculty of Technology, was appointed as the head of the Authority in mid-September. Until his appointment, Balcha has been serving as director of the  Communication & Information Technology Standardization & Regulation Directorate under the Ministry of Innovation & Technology.

He has also served at the then Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency in different capacities including director of standards & type approval, acting director and head of standards. Before joining the Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency, he had worked at the Oromia Water Resource Bureau as an electrical engineer.

The Authority replaces the Communication & Information Technology Standardization & Regulation Directorate that has been operating with 60 employees. It will be mandated with licensing and regulating telecommunications operators, postal service providers and broadcasters.



Directly reporting to the Office of the Prime Minister, the Authority will also regulate tariffs, types of telecommunications equipment that are connected to a telecommunications network, authorise and supervise the radio frequency spectrum and manage internet protocol addresses and domain names.

Though it will directly report to the Prime Minister's Office, the Authority will have a seven-member board of management, whose members will be named by the Prime Minister. Four of the board members will be from government institutions, while the remaining members will be filled by candidates from the private sector and academia.


The proclamation, which established the Authority, has been in the making for over a year and was legislated by the parliament two months ago. It has liberalised the telecom industry by allowing both local and foreign investors to invest in telecommunications operations and services.

Along with privatising the minority share of Ethio telecom, the Ministry of Finance is working to let two international telecom operators join the sector next year. The Authority will be mandated to regulate these operators.




Currently, the newly established Authority is working on structuring itself and including human resources and capacity building.

With the new structure, the Authority will have a total of 250 employees, including a technical team and supporting staff.

“We’ve studied the human resources structure of the Authority,” said Balcha, “and sent it to the Office of the Prime Minister for approval.”

The human resources structure was prepared by a technical team formed by experts from the Ministry of Finance, the Directorate and the Ministry of Innovation & Technology.


The structure is sent to the Civil Service Commission for comments before approval by the Prime Minister, according to Balcha.

“We expect it to be approved in early October,” he told Fortune.

Once it gets the green light from the Prime Minister, the management of the Authority plans to hire 64pc of the employees in the coming six months and to be equipped with a full staff before the end of this fiscal year.



PUBLISHED ON Sep 21,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1012]


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