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IFC makes $30m equity investment in WIOCC Group

IFC-WIOCC investment signing group - 28 09 22.jpg

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has expanded its relationship with WIOCC Group with a $30 million equity investment.

The new investment will support WIOCC Group’s rollout of terrestrial fibre networks, investment in new subsea cables, and the launch of open-access core and edge data centre infrastructure across Africa.

“At IFC, we recognise that there is a critical need for reliable digital infrastructure, which is fundamental to improving the quality of people’s lives and driving business growth,” said Mohamed Gouled, vice president of industries at IFC, during a signing ceremony with WIOCC Group in London.

“In the past fiscal year, ending in June 2022, IFC invested $1.3 billion in digital infrastructure, with over half of those investments taking place in Africa’s telecommunications, media, and technology sector. Our partnership with WIOCC Group underscores IFC’s commitment to closing the digital divide in Africa.”

IFC’s latest equity investment builds on its previous financing to WIOCC Group, for a $20 million loan in 2020 via IFC’s fast-track Covid-19 financing facility, a facility set up to help support economies and preserve jobs during the global pandemic.

“IFC is a true strategic partner that has been there for us since the start. IFC's role as one of the founding lenders in 2007 was critical in enabling WIOCC Group to grow and thrive. This new investment supports our goal of establishing an integrated, open-access, core-to-edge cloud ecosystem throughout the African continent, underpinned by truly scalable, carrier-neutral, open access, shared infrastructure that delivers high-quality and affordable digital connectivity,” said Chris Wood, group chief executive officer at WIOCC.

“By decentralising the cloud and enabling content delivery to the point of use, we are establishing the infrastructure required to expedite successful deployment and adoption of 5G, the Internet of Things and other key developments that will deliver economic growth throughout the 2020s.”

IFC's digital infrastructure strategy in Africa includes investing in the growth of independent tower operators, data centres and broadband, as well as supporting mobile operators, with an emphasis on fragile and conflict situations (FCS) and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).