IFC to invest up to $700m into new Africa telecoms

The International Finance Corporation (www.ifc.org) plans to invest heavily in new African telecommunications projects, with spending plans for up to $300 million in the financial year to June and another $400m the following year. According to a story on Reuters, the private-sector financing arm of the World Bank group is aiming for projects that are not commercially attractive to traditional financiers.
Kent Lupberger, IFC’s global head for Technology, Media and Telecom, told Reuters at an industry conference on 9 Nov: “We would very much be looking to do $200-$400 million a year for our own account in Africa and ideally helping mobilise funding from other sources — commercial banks, other development institutions — to double or triple that.” The IFC is to focus on new telecoms opportunities such as data centres, tower sharing, IT services and “last mile” broadband connectivity, reaching to end users, among others.
The IFC has previously gave considerable finance to cellular companies but it is cutting back on this because the telcos are now established and have easier access to financing.

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