Airtel Africa has taken out a $194 million loan facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support its operations and investments across Africa.
The telecoms group, which operates in 14 countries across Africa, said the loan facility has a tenure of eight years and will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia, by “providing a more diversified access to local funding.”
“I am very excited to announce the signing of this new facility with IFC. Not only does it align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localising debt within our operating companies, but as we make progress on our sustainability journey, it also supports our commitments and ability to meet strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.” Airtel Africa’s chief executive Segun Ogunsanya said in a statement.
Airtel Africa had 134.7 million users across Africa at the end of September 2022 and reported interim revenue growth of 12.9% year-on-year (YoY) to $2.57 billion for the six months.
The global financier, part of the World Bank Group, said the funding will help connect millions of new subscribers to mobile internet in the six countries.
According to data from the telcos’ association GSMA, less than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s population had access to mobile services at the end of 2021, while only 28 per cent of the population had access to mobile internet.
GSMA also estimates that by 2025, the value added by mobile technology and services will reach almost $155 billion (Sh19 trillion).
“The Covid-19 pandemic has 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 for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries. The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.” Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, said in a statement.