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Liquid Intelligent Technologies secures R900m funding for Eastern Cape fibre project

16th November 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Pan-African technology group Liquid Intelligent Technologies has secured R900-million funding for its South African operations to support universal and affordable broadband access in the company’s Eastern Cape fibre project.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) will each provide R450-million in funding.

The investment is expected to help fund the expansion of the company’s fibre backbone network in the Eastern Cape, as well as enable the upskilling of more South Africans and create employment.

“The support and investment we have received from IFC and RMB underscores our collective commitment to advancing South Africa's broadband connectivity and uplifting the communities in which we do business,” said Liquid Intelligent Technologies group CEO Hardy Pemhiwa, who further noted that the collaboration sets a new benchmark for the financing and development of digital infrastructure in South Africa.

The Eastern Cape is one of the least connected regions in South Africa, with only 65% of households having Internet access and only 5% with access from home, compared with the South African average of 10% of the total population with Internet access from home.

Liquid South Africa has invested over R400-million into extending its operations in the Eastern Cape across a range of initiatives aimed at fostering innovation and empowering citizens with digital skills and has connected more than 1 300 government buildings and created over 600 permanent and temporary jobs.

The project will significantly increase access to high-quality digital connectivity for businesses and other organisations. As high-speed Internet infrastructure expands, it will create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“Digital connectivity that is inclusive and accessible is a fundamental driver of economic growth and an informed society. Through our partnership with Liquid South Africa, we are committed to narrowing the digital divide in the Eastern Cape and expanding Internet access to underserved areas,” added IFC Africa infrastructure and natural resources regional industry director Sarvesh Suri.

RMB believes in partnering with its clients who are vested in digital inclusion to narrow the digital divide and counteract the negative social consequences of digital exclusion, said RMB corporate client group head Nana Phiri.

“We look forward to working on similar transactions across the continent.”

Beyond the immediate project, the investment will strengthen the integration of the digital ecosystem in South Africa, facilitating e-government services and connecting underserved areas.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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