By Mark Kawalya
Wim Vanhelleputte, MTN Groups’ former Chief Operations Executive-Markets, has joined Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia as the new Chief Executive Officer.
Effective September 1st, 2023, Wim will take on the position previously held by Anwar Soussa, who will be leaving the company at the end of next month. Anwar has served for less than two years at East Africa’s leading telecom.
“Wim brings leadership experience and industry knowledge, having worked in the telecommunications industry across multiple markets in sub-Saharan Africa for over 25 years,” noted Safaricom in a memo.
Previous Work Experience
At MTN Group, Wim Vanhelleputte oversaw the performance and governance of four companies that were operating in West and Central Africa. Before this, He was MTN Uganda’s Chief Executive Officer from 2016.
From 2009 to 2015, Wim served as the CEO of MTN Cote d’Ivoire and briefly joined Airtel Africa from 2015 to 2016 as regional Francophone Africa director.
Wim, who is Belgian, kicked off his career as an associate engineer at Westinghouse Energy Systems Europe in the Czech Republic. He later joined Siemens Atea in Zimbabwe as a project Engineer before getting hired as a resident project manager in Gabon.
Wim has a bachelor’s Degree in general engineering and a master’s degree in nuclear and solid-state physics from the State University of Ghent.
About Safaricom Ethiopia
Safaricom officially entered the Ethiopian market in October 2022, launching its mobile telecommunications network in the country’s capital city, Addis Ababa.
The Government of Ethiopia has a road map to a Digital Ethiopia 2025, which aims at enabling the country to reach its digital potential by leveraging technology as a means to economic development. In fulfillment of this plan, Safaricom was given a nationwide full-service telecommunications license and is the first privately owned firm to compete with the state-owned carrier, Ethio Telecom.
Safaricom Ethiopia is owned by a consortium of international owners, including Safaricom PLC, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation (one of the largest international trading and business investment companies), and British International Investment (BII) – the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.