The CDC Group has committed USD 50 million to the expansion of African digital infrastructure and connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s more remote places.
Two new investments by the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), will help to support the growth of Africa’s ICT sector, which will help to improve infrastructure and bring mobile access to the continent’s most rural and underserved areas.
The initial investment is a USD 40 million contributions to Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF), which is managed by Convergence Partners, an Africa-focused ICT fund manager.
CPDIF will use this money to invest in digital infrastructure and other measures of improving connectivity. Data centers, fiber networks, towers, wireless networks, and software, as well as 5G, cloud, IoT, and artificial intelligence (AI), are all potential investment areas.
It comes after Facebook and a Pan-African technology company announced plans to build a new fiber network to improve internet connectivity between East and West Africa in July, the same month that a consortium of investors led by African private equity fund manager Metier, which builds mobile networks, including in rural areas across Sub-Saharan Africa, announced plans to build a new fiber network to improve internet connectivity between East and West Africa.
Metier will receive CDC’s second investment, worth a little over USD 10 million, as well as contributions from several DFIs such as DEG, Proparco, and other financial institutions that are investing in Africa Mobile Networks.
The investments are opportune in this African digital infrastructure, as the World Bank recently calculated that 45 percent of Africa’s population lives more than 10 kilometers from fiber network infrastructure, the highest percentage of any continent.
African digital infrastructure and digital inclusion
“Digital inclusion provides an exceptional potential for African countries,” said Clarisa De Franco, managing director and head of private equity funds at CDC Group, in a statement. To take advantage of these possibilities, long-term investments and the correct collaborations are needed to help build innovative, sustainable, and inclusive solutions to the continent’s connectivity gap.”
The investments, according to De Franco, will “support Africa’s digital revolution, connect millions of people throughout the continent, improve access to excellent education and healthcare, boost digital skills, and promote financial inclusion.”