IFC has teamed with Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid.Tech) to boost data center capacity and the development of fiber-optic cable across Africa to promote universal and affordable broadband connectivity.
The collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africa’s premier independent fiber and digital services provider, aims to boost digital connection and inclusiveness in Africa while also supporting the region’s burgeoning digital ecosystem.
Through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centres, IFC’s equity and debt investments in Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which total around $250 million to date, will help the company expand its hyper-scale data center capacity in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Data consumption is predicted to rise sharply as Africa’s population rises and becomes more urbanized, necessitating the need for safe local data hosting.
The funds will also help Liquid Intelligent Technologies continue to expand its fiber broadband network, which now spans over 100,000 kilometers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s continuing network expansion will help connect businesses and individuals across Africa to the Internet, positioning Liquid Intelligent Technologies to be at the forefront of Africa’s digital transformation by providing complementing digital services.
“We are very pleased that IFC continues to support Liquid. The investments in our data centers and fiber broadband network will directly support our growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as Cloud and other digital services, services that are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Executive Chairman and Founder.
“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate, transact, and access information and services. By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
Digital infrastructure is the backbone of the digital economy, but sub-Saharan Africa needs around $100 billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband access by 2030, according to the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development (https://bit.ly/3H3XUJ5). To achieve universal broadband access, the continent needs at least 250,000 kilometers of new fiber (https://bit.ly/3H3Y2Iz).
IFC’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable connectivity. This includes investing in the growth of independent tower operators, data centers, and broadband, as well as support to mobile operators primarily in fragile and conflict situations (FCS) and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).
IFC’s latest investment in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February 2021 through Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The issuance raised $620 million.