NAIROBI - Ethiopia has raised the size of its planned Ethio Telecom stake sale to up to 45% of the state-owned company from 40% previously, the finance ministry said.

The government last November revived the previously postponed privatisation process, saying it would sell a 40% stake. It also resumed a separate plan to issue a full telecoms licence for a third operator in the East African country.

A finance ministry statement on Thursday said the plan had been revised and that as much as 45% of the company would be sold.

The telecoms industry is seen as a big prize in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's push to open up the economy, but efforts to lure investment were slowed by a nearly two-year war in northern Tigray that killed tens of thousands and uprooted millions.

In May 2021 a consortium led by Kenya's top operator, Safaricom, won the first international telecoms licence with a bid of $850 million.

Rival Safaricom Ethiopia began commercial operations in October.

(Writing by George Obulutsa Editing by David Goodman)