Nigeria-listed Airtel Africa has signed an agreement with Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC) for a $194 million credit facility to boost operations in six of its 14 African markets.
“The new financing facility is in line with Airtel’s Africa strategy to increase debt within its operating companies,” the telco said in a statement published on the Nigerian stock exchange website.
The facility has a tenor of eight years and will support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Congo and Zambia, providing more diversified access to local funding.
In a separate statement, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said that less than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s population had access to mobile services at the end of 2021, while only 28 percent of the population had access to mobile internet, citing telecoms industry group GSMA.
Moreover, the value added by mobile technology and services is likely to reach almost $155 billion annually by 2025, GSMA said.
Segun Ogunsanya, Airtel Africa CEO, stated that the new facility aligns with the company’s focus on improving its balance sheet through localising debt within its operating companies and supports commitment to meet very strict ESG criteria.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries,” added Sérgio Pimenta, Vice President for Africa, IFC.
As part of IFC’s loan facility, Airtel Africa has committed to comply with the applicable requirements of IFC performance standards on social and environmental sustainability.
Airtel Africa’s sustainability strategy was launched in October 2021, setting the group’s sustainability targets and long-term goals.
(Editing by Seban Scaria)