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EAIF extends $31m debt facility to Paratus to expand Africa fibre, data centre business

8th November 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), infrastructure development and finance organisation Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and fund manager Ninety One have committed a $31-million debt facility to Paratus Group to finance the expansion of its fibre and data centre business over the next three years.

The transaction contributes to strengthening the continent’s core digital infrastructure, fundamental to building more advanced economies, Paratus said in a statement on November 8.

The expansion of Paratus’s fibre business will include three new fibre routes connecting Walvis Bay-Johannesburg-Maputo, Brazzaville-Johannesburg-Maputo, and Luanda-Lusaka-Dar Es Salaam, and adding to a fibre network of over 10 000 km.

The projects, linking the West and East African coasts, will enhance connectivity, data transmission and access to digital services, the company said.

The debt facility will help to enhance last-mile connectivity and introduce more reliable Internet services across three sub-regions and six countries in Africa, namely Angola, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The EAIF’s investment will also help finance the construction of Angola’s first Tier 4 data centre, which will be Paratus’s fifth carrier-neutral data centre in Southern Africa, and add to its two other Tier 3 data centres in the capital Luanda.

The 10 MW facility will position Paratus’s network in Angola as a key regional hub to capture opportunities created by the Equiano subsea Internet cable, connecting Europe to Africa’s west coast, it added.

“Entrenching our presence in key markets builds on Paratus’s commitment to growing African businesses through reliable data connections and PIDG’s contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 to build resilient infrastructure, creating digitally-enabled economic opportunities.

“Facilitating this growth is critical to unlocking the potential across Africa, where 1.1-billion new unique users must be connected to achieve universal broadband access by 2030. Building world class digital infrastructure will encourage the continent’s entrepreneurs to expand services through disruptive and high-growth businesses,” Paratus said.

“This financing is a key demonstration of the growing demand for connectivity and data on the continent. EAIF’s structuring expertise and ability to mobilise private capital into digital infrastructure in emerging economies has enabled finance to flow where it is needed most. The collaboration of Ninety One’s Africa Credit Opportunities and EAIF is a progressive partnership designed to deliver high-impact infrastructure projects,” said Ninety One investment specialist Sine Zulu.

“Widening access to fibre and data centres in key African markets will progress development and inclusive growth, and maximise entrepreneurial opportunities in countries. EAIF and Ninety One’s commitment sends the right signal  to the rest of the market and reinforces our mission to support a more connected and technologically advanced Africa,” concluded Paratus CEO Schalk Erasmus.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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