Finance - Assurance - Banque

DRC: Eastcastle gets $60 mln in IFC financing to expand tower network

(Ecofin Agency) - In the DRC, only 50.9% of the population has access to mobile services, according to official figures. Telecom operators need additional infrastructure capacity to bridge the digital divide.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced, Monday (June 26), it granted a $60 million loan to telecom tower operator Eastcastle Infrastructure to finance the network extension in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Eastcastle will lease its new towers to mobile network operators and other digital service providers in the DRC. This will enable them to extend their coverage while reducing operating costs and energy consumption through infrastructure sharing.

This investment is in line with Eastcastle's growth ambitions in sub-Saharan Africa. In June 2021, the company announced it would invest $130 million to improve its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Côte d'Ivoire. This follows the sale of the majority of its capital to a consortium formed by African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Adenia Partners, and the IFC.

We are very pleased that following IFC's equity investment in Eastcastle, they have been able to now provide our DRC operations with a $60 million long-term debt package. This, with the $34 million from The Standard Bank of South Africa, will enable us to surpass over 1,000 towers in the DRC," said Peter Lewis, Co-Founder and Director of Eastcastle Infrastructure Ltd.

The extension of Eastcastle's telecom tower network is expected to help improve the quality and coverage of telecom services in the DRC. According to the latest data from telecom regulator ARPTC, the country has 48.4 million cell phone subscribers, with a penetration rate of 50.9%. The number of mobile Internet users stands at 22.6 million, with a penetration rate of 23.8%.


Source : Isaac K. Kassouwi


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