IFC has invested $30 million in equity in West Indian Ocean Cable Company Holding Ltd (WIOCC Group) to support the expansion of high-quality broadband internet and data hosting services in Africa.
IFC previously provided $20 million in financing to WIOCC Group through its fast-track COVID-19 financing facility, which was established to support economies and protect jobs during the pandemic crisis.
The additional funding will assist WIOCC Group in completing the construction of new subsea cables, expanding its existing terrestrial fibre-optic network infrastructure, and establishing top-notch open-access core and edge data centre facilities across the continent.
Speaking on this raise, Chris Wood, WIOCC Group Chief Executive Officer said,
This new investment supports our goal of establishing an integrated, open-access, core-to-edge cloud ecosystem throughout the African continent, underpinned by truly scalable, carrier-neutral, open access, shared infrastructure that delivers high-quality and affordable digital connectivity.Chris Wood, WIOCC Group Chief Executive Officer
Since 2007, IFC has been a founding lender of WIOCC and a strong supporter of accessible digital connectivity in emerging markets. In the fiscal year of June 2022, IFC invested $1.3 billion in the digital infrastructure of which a portion was used in Africa’s telecommunications, media, and technology sectors.
IFC is committed to closing the digital divide in Africa, as this partnership with WIOCC demonstrates.
Digital Infrastructure in Africa
The internet economy in Africa is increasingly being supported by digital infrastructure. According to eConomy Africa 2020, fibre optic networks and data centres are being integrated over time to increase access to faster, more affordable internet across the continent of Africa.
According to a study by the International Telecommunication Union, a 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration in Africa would result in a 2.5% increase in GDP per capita.
This increased access also has the potential to significantly transform the continent by fostering economic opportunities, creating jobs, and offering creative solutions to complex problems like access to healthcare, education, and finance.
The goal of the IFC’s digital infrastructure strategy in Africa is to enable dependable, cost-effective connectivity.
Along with supporting mobile operators, this entails making investments in the development of independent tower operators, data centres, and broadband, with a focus on fostering increased connectivity in low-income and fragile-state (FCS) international development association countries (LIC-IDA).
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a World Bank Group member and one of the largest global development institutions focused on emerging market private sectors.
IFC has committed and mobilised more than $7 billion in digital infrastructure and services over the last decade, with more than $2.5 billion committed and mobilised between July 2020 and June 2022.
In the previous fiscal year (July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022), 34% of IFC’s investments in digital infrastructure were made in FCS and IDA nations.
IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private businesses and financial institutions in developing nations during the fiscal year 2022, utilising the private sector’s ability to promote shared prosperity and end extreme poverty as economies deal with the effects of the world’s compounding crises.
WIOCC Group is Africa’s leading provider of digital connectivity.
It provides connectivity services to cloud operators, content providers, broadband and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across Africa via its extensive open-access, carrier-neutral digital infrastructure, which in turn provides voice, data, applications, content, and fibre access services to their end users and subscribers.
The company is a strategic investor in hyperscale terrestrial networks as well as subsea cables such as 2Africa, the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), Equiano, and the West Africa Cable System (WACS).
It is establishing a rapidly growing data centre footprint in Africa through WIOCC Group company Open Access Data Centres, which currently hosts cable landing points for both 2Africa and Equiano.
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