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Our Target in Action: Expanding Access to Telecommunications in Sub-Saharan Africa
In February 2021, JPM DFI acted as the Development Finance Structuring Agent for a $620 million corporate bond issued by Liquid Telecom, one of the largest multi-country, open access fiber network operators in Africa. The company operates its largely owned fiber optic and wireless network across more than 20 countries, including Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These countries have a combined population of around 500 million people, but only 23 million mobile broadband users and three million fixed broadband users, indicating limited access to telecommunication services, particularly for those living in rural areas.
The bond issuance is expected to enable Liquid Telecom to help address key development gaps in the region and improve delivery of education, healthcare and key services to both urban and rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Through the use of proceeds from the bond, Liquid Telecom is anticipating to improve access to information and communication technology and foster financial inclusion by:
• Connecting approximately 800 buildings and 5,000 homes to the Fiber to the Home ("FTTH") network in the DRC, Rwanda and Zambia;
• Doubling the capacity of the Company’s FTTH network to approximately 100,000 existing homes in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia;
• Increasing coverage in Zambia and Zimbabwe by adding more than 100 additional LTE sites;
• Expanding its fiber network in the DRC to reach, via service providers, approximately 75% of the population; and
• Creating employment opportunities specifically in the DRC and South Sudan.
The JPM DFI assessed the transaction and determined it advances United Nations SDGs #8 and #9, which are associated with promoting decent work and building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.