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Airtel Africa requests US$194m from IFC to invest in network expansion

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , 25 Mar 2022

Airtel Africa has proposed to raise US$194-million through debt from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to initiate network investment across seven subsidiaries and refinance existing loans.

Airtel Africa is an integrated mobile phone operator operating in 14 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The IFC stated: “(it) will support the project with a debt package of up US$150 million from its own amount and up to US$44 million in mobilisation from MCPP (Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Programme) funds.”

According to the financial institution the funds will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments across the seven subsidiaries including Chad, DRC, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Airtel Africa had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publishing.

In January this year, the company said it was serving over 122 million people across African 14 markets in which it operates including Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania Uganda and Zambia

It said it will continue to execute its growth strategy to deliver on its market potential afforded by demographics and market dynamics across voice, data and mobile money services.

The company’s need to invest in network expansion follows a statement included in its financial report for the period ended 31 December , 2021 that “there is now an improvement in customer growth trends across its operations with Nigeria returning to strong customer growth after a period affected by the implementation of ’know-your-customer’ requirements.”

At the time Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya said: “We will continue to invest in expanding and evolving our platform to further deepen both financial and digital inclusion across Africa. I continue to see huge potential across voice, data and mobile money and our strategy is delivering against these opportunities.”

In July 2021, Airtel Africa inked a deal to sell about 7.5% stake in its mobile money unit to Qatar Holding LLC for around US$200-million following a similar transaction with global payment processor MasterCard for US$100-million with the aim of using the proceeds to invest in network and infrastructure in the respective operating countries among others.

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