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IFC confirms investment in Liquid to boost tech infrastructure across Africa

By , ITWeb
Africa , 08 Nov 2021

World Bank Group member IFC has partnered with Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT) to expand datacentre capacity and the rollout of fibre-optic cable on the continent.

According to information supplied, the alliance with LIT aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and to support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.

IFC’s equity and debt investments in LIT, which to date total approximately US$250-million, will support the company to grow its hyperscale datacentre capacity in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centres.

The investments will also support LIT’s in the continued rollout of its fibre broadband network, which today covers more than 100,000 kilometres of sub-Saharan Africa.

The continued build out of its network will help to connect businesses and individuals to the internet across the continent and position LIT to be at the forefront of Africa’s digital transformation with the provision of complementary digital services.

Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Executive Chairman and Founder, said, “We are very pleased that IFC continues to support Liquid. The investments in our datacentres and fibre broadband network will directly support our growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as Cloud and other digital services, services that are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa.”

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, added: “Digital technologies are rapidly transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate, transact, and access information and services. By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better.”

The companies claim that digital infrastructure is the backbone of the digital economy, but sub-Saharan Africa needs around US$100-billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband access by 2030, according to the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development).

To achieve universal broadband access, the continent needs at least 250,000 kilometres of new fibre.

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, datacentres and broadband, as well as support to mobile operators primarily in fragile and conflict situations (FCS) and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).

IFC’s latest investment in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February 2021 through Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The issuance raised US$620-million.

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