Traffic near Léon-Mba International Airport in Libreville, Gabon. Photo credit: Ben Mack
Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom has reached an agreement with CDC Group Plc, the UK’s development finance institution for US$180 million in investment. This investment will enable Liquid to expand its high-speed broadband connectivity to some of the most underserved communities across mainland Africa, including supporting Africa’s thriving tech start-up ecosystem with high-speed internet and cloud-based services.
Owned and managed by the UK government, CDC Group supports companies that help poor countries grow. Being aligned to a common purpose, the US$180 million investment will enable Liquid to increase its network expansion, particularly in building on its award-winning Cape to Cairo terrestrial fibre link (often referred to as “the One Africa” broadband network, and which took 10 years to complete and stretches, as the name suggests, from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt).
“Our vision is to give every individual on the African continent the right to be connected by bringing reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity and cloud services to all,” said Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom’s group CEO. “This includes businesses and communities in some of the most remote parts of the continent.”
He said more. “We welcome CDC Group’s investment of US$180 million with Liquid Telecom since it will enable us to accelerate expansion along our award-winning Cape-to-Cairo route and further into Central and Western Africa. Once completed, it will bring significant economic and social benefits – from providing access to online educational resources to supporting national economies, creating more jobs and driving the adoption of new technologies.”
Nick O’Donohoe, CDC Group Plc CEO, said: “Digital infrastructure is still a major problem for Africa’s governments, people and its businesses, so improving access to affordable and quality internet is central to Africa’s development and economic growth. Our investment in Liquid Telecom – which is one of CDC’s biggest ever investments – plays an important part in addressing infrastructure bottlenecks and helps bring about the innovation and efficiency gains that result from better internet access.”
He added: “CDC’s capital will enable Liquid Telecom to reach more countries in the continent, helping to connect millions more people and businesses. Africans have benefited hugely from the local mobile phone industry that CDC backed twenty years ago and we have similar hopes for our investments in Africa’s growing digital infrastructure.”
Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries – primarily in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa – that serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services. It has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network (approaching 70,000 kilometres), and operates data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, with a combined potential 19,000 square metres of rack space and 80 MW of power. This is in addition to offering cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure, and digital content including Netflix and Kwesé TV.