Airtel Africa borrows US$194m to drive up subscription
Airtel Africa has signed a new US$194-million loan facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which the company says it will use to connect new subscribers to mobile internet in several African countries.
According to Airtel, the loan facility is valid for eight years and will be used to support its operations and investments in the DRC, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger and Zambia.
Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya said, “I’m very excited to announce the signing of this new loan facility. Not only does this facility align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localising debt within our operating companies, but it will also support our commitment to meet very strict environmental and social governance criteria in demonstration of the continued execution of our sustainable journey.”
IFC vice president for Africa Sergio Pimenta said the organisation's strategy in Africa is to enable unambitious, reliable and affordable connectivity – and this includes investing in the growth of independent towers, datacentres and broadband.
Pimenta said, “The COVID-19 pandemic made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority of IFC Africa, especially in the continent’s lower income countries. The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.”
According to data from GSMA, less than half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population had access to mobile services at the end of 2021, while only 28% of the population had access to mobile internet.
"I look forward to working closely with IFC in the coming years and to explore further opportunities to cooperate together to support the economies and communities where we operate,” Ogunsanya added.