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Africa Mobile Networks secures $20m to bolster rural connectivity

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Africa , Cameroon , 30 Mar 2023

Telecommunications tower operator Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) has secured a $20 million loan to drive its continent-wide ambition of connecting rural communities in Africa via mobile communications towers.

The financing operation, which opened in November 2022, was closed this March with commitments from BlueOrchard Sustainable Assets Fund and the OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I.

The recent deal follows an equity investment of $36 million, which was made in 2021 by a consortium led by Metier, CDC Group (the UK's development finance institution and impact investor), DEG (Germany's development finance institution), Proparco (the private sector arm of the French Development Agency) and other leading financial institutions and investment managers.

AMN’s CEO Michael Darcy said: “Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 1.1 billion people, one seventh of the global population, 62% of which is classified as rural. It is not only the fastest growing region in the world, but also has the world's largest population percentage that does not have mobile coverage. 

"According to estimations, more than 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are living in villages, which have no usable mobile network service today. We have set out to address this challenge.”

AMN, which comprises several local operating companies in Sub-Saharan Africa and is UK-registered, is keen on becoming the leading rural telecoms provider in Africa. 

To achieve this goal, the company aims to build more than 5 000 towers in over 15 countries by the end of 2023 and later expand to 10 000 base stations in 20 Sub-Saharan African countries, serving at least 35 million people in rural communities. 

AMN already has operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Guinea, and Congo-Brazzaville, among others.

Backed by Intelsat and Facebook, AMN builds, owns, operates and maintains mobile network infrastructure in previously unconnected small towns and villages and boasts of delivering services for the biggest mobile network operators in Africa. 

The company deploys small mobile towers capable of capturing satellite waves, and delivering mobile connectivity in 2G, 3G and 4G standards. AMN’s Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model allows MNOs to expand their network coverage deep into rural areas.

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