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BII expands telecom infrastructure in Senegal, Tanzania

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The UK's development finance institution, British International Investment (BII), has signed financing agreements to support both Senegal and Tanzania's telecommunication infrastructure plans.

In Senegal, BII, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Proparco – a subsidiary of France's AFD Group – have partnered to support operator Sonatel's telecom expansion.

The combined financing package of €87 million (US$94.5 million) will help Sonatel expand telecom infrastructure in rural areas and provide reliable and affordable mobile and Internet services to people in Senegal.

"This is the first sustainability-linked financing in Francophone West African region, designed to link loan pricing with developmental outcomes for female empowerment and capability building for the local workforce," BII said in a statement.

BII MD and Head of Africa Chris Chijiutomi said investing in the digital infrastructure space is a priority for BII given its importance in addressing economic growth constraints in Africa.

"Our investment in Sonatel will help provide quality and affordable connectivity and directly foster inclusive economic growth, particularly in rural areas," he added.

BII invests US$30 million in TOA Tanzania

Meanwhile, in Tanzania, another BII financing agreement will see TowerCo of Africa Tanzania (TOA Tanzania) deploying a further 200 telecommunications sites across the East African country.

TOA Tanzania signed a US$30 million financing agreement with BII that will help the group increase coverage in rural areas and bridge the digital divide.

BII said the infrastructure expansion promises to extend network coverage, support government digitization efforts, foster financial inclusion, and generate employment opportunities.

The additional funds will help TOA Tanzania deploy a further 200 telecoms sites across the country and will increase coverage in rural areas to help bridge the digital divide.   (Source: aopsan on Freepik)
The additional funds will help TOA Tanzania deploy a further 200 telecoms sites across the country and will increase coverage in rural areas to help bridge the digital divide.
(Source: aopsan on Freepik)

"The anticipated 200 new sites, strategically placed across the mainland and Zanzibar, will significantly increase coverage, particularly in rural regions," BII said in a statement.

TOA Tanzania CEO Innocent Mushi said the financing agreement with BII reinforces the company's commitment to expanding connectivity and bridging the digital divide in Tanzania.

"With BII's invaluable support, we are well equipped to accelerate our growth trajectory and deliver essential telecom services to underserved communities," he added.

BII Director and Head of Private Debt Richard Palmer said by focusing on rural areas, TOA Tanzania is not only promoting inclusivity but also ensuring that the benefits of technological advancements reach the most underserved communities.

"Expanding digital infrastructure is critical for fostering sustainable economic development in Tanzania," Palmer added.

Digital transformation deals in Africa

BII's investment deals in Senegal and Tanzania come at a time when many African countries and companies are signing deals with international organizations to further their digital transformation ambitions.

In January 2024, the government of Gabon and the World Bank signed a US$68.5 million loan for the Digital Gabon Project.

That project aims to accelerate the adoption of digitalized public services and increase the number of people with a unique identity (ID), facilitating inclusive access to public services in the central African country.

Many African countries have signed deals with international organizations to accelerate their digital transformation strategies.

  (Source: Image by Freepik)
Many African countries have signed deals with international organizations to accelerate their digital transformation strategies.
(Source: Image by Freepik)

In August 2023, Safaricom Ethiopia closed a $257 million deal with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – members of the World Bank Group.

In June 2023, the Ugandan government partnered with the World Bank to launch the Universal Digital Acceleration Program. Under the five-year program, refugees will acquire essential digital skills.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

In April 2023, the World Bank approved a $390 million finance deal toward the first phase of the Kenya Digital Economy Acceleration Project, with another $150 million earmarked for Senegal's digital transformation.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Senegal's national flag. (Source: Image by on Freepik.)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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