To support universal and affordable broadband access in Africa, IFC has partnered with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand data center capacity and the rollout of fiber-optic cable on the continent.
The partnership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africa’s leading independent fiber and digital services provider, aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and to support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.
IFC’s equity and debt investments in Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which to date total approximately $250 million, will support the company to grow its hyperscale data center capacity in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centres. As Africa’s population grows and is increasingly urbanized, data consumption is expected to grow strongly and with this comes the need for secure local data hosting.
The investments will also support Liquid Intelligent Technologies in the continued rollout of its fiber broadband network, which today covers more than 100,000 kilometers of sub-Saharan Africa. The continued build out of its network will help to connect businesses and individuals to the Internet across the continent and position Liquid intelligent Technologies to be at the forefront of Africa’s digital transformation with the provision of complementary digital services.
“We are very pleased that IFC continues to support Liquid. The investments in our data centers and fiber broadband network will directly support our growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as Cloud and other digital services, services that are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Executive Chairman and Founder.
“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate, transact, and access information and services. By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
Digital infrastructure is the backbone of the digital economy, but sub-Saharan Africa needs around $100 billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband access by 2030, according to the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development. To achieve universal broadband access, the continent needs at least 250,000 kilometers of new fiber.
IFC’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable connectivity. This includes investing in the growth of independent tower operators, data centers and broadband, as well as support to mobile operators primarily in fragile and conflict situations (FCS) and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).
IFC’s latest investment in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February 2021 through Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The issuance raised $620 million.