! ADDIS ABABA , Safar 16, 1435, Dec 19, 2013 , SPA -- Ethiopia has hired French investment bank and asset manager Lazard Ltd in a bid to select rating companies and secure its first credit rating, officials said on Thursday, which would pave the way for issuing a debut Eurobond. In an October interview, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told Reuters that Addis Ababa planned "not only a Eurobond but other bonds as well" once it secured a rating. Ethiopia has ruled out liberalising its state-owned banks or telecoms sector to foreigners saying the revenues generated for the state each year were spent on vital infrastructure projects. But a Eurobond issue would give investors, who have snapped up sub-Saharan sovereign bonds, another route into Africa's second most populous nation, which is keen to shift its largely agrarian economy towards textiles and other manufacturing. "We chose a French company. The second phase will be to initiate a rating for the country," Sufian Ahmed , Ethiopia's minister for finance and economic development, told a business forum attended by a delegation of 30 French firms. Another official at the ministry told Reuters the government had hired Lazard Ltd , and that Addis Ababa expected the whole process to be finalised in a "few months". The French delegation included officials from French banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale . -- SPA 20:58 LOCAL TIME 17:58 GMT All Rights Reversed for Saudi Press Agency Provided by Syndigate.info , an Albawaba.com company
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