To boost broadband access in Africa and increase the availability of IT services for small and medium-sized businesses, IFC has partnered with a digital infrastructure and IT services company, SEACOM, to grow its broadband cable network and cloud-based product offering in sub-Saharan Africa.
Under the partnership, IFC is providing a $207 million long-term loan package to SEACOM, which includes $70 million from IFC’s own financing, $42.24 million co-financing mobilized from institutional investors through IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP), and $94.76 million equivalent mobilized from Nedbank Limited and Mauritius Commercial Bank.
SEACOM leverages cloud technology, its broadband submarine cable network, and fiber in major African cities to provide business tools in Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The funding will support SEACOM’s strategy to become an integrated broadband connectivity and next-generation cloud-based IT service business.
IFC anticipates that the investment will increase access to quality IT services for African businesses, enabling SEACOM to support the digital transformation of 24,000 enterprises in the region by 2027, including in low-income countries, by increasing access to the internet, and cloud and cybersecurity services. IFC’s partnership with SEACOM is another step toward helping to close the digital connectivity gap in Africa.
“Pursuing our expansion ambition in Africa will allow our company to leverage the opportunities created by the increasing demand for digital services; it is also a demonstration of a long-term partnership with the IFC,” said Richard Schumacher, Group Chief Financial Officer at SEACOM.
“Access to affordable, good-quality internet is central to economic and social development,” said Sarvesh Suri, IFC’s Regional Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources in Africa. “The partnership with SEACOM will support the company in expanding much-needed digital infrastructure and cloud-based services to meaningfully connect more people and businesses on the continent.”
IFC’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable connectivity. This includes investing in the growth of independent tower operators, data centers and broadband, and support to mobile operators primarily in fragile states and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).
Over the last decade, IFC committed and mobilized more than $7 billion in digital infrastructure and services globally. In addition to providing financing, IFC helps investees improve corporate governance and align environmental and social practices with IFC’s performance standards.