WIOCC Secures $ 20 Million Loan to Strengthen African Connectivity
August 21, 2020 | Melanie Mingas
The West Indian Ocean Cable Company Ltd (WIOCC) has received a US $ 20 million injection from the IFC to strengthen connectivity across Africa.
IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group, is the world’s largest private sector-focused development institution in emerging markets. The organization extended the $ 20 million loan under its $ 8 billion global Covid-19 rapid response mechanism, announced in March to help support economies and preserve jobs during the pandemic.
IFC’s support will help WIOCC – which is jointly owned by 14 African telecommunications operators – to improve submarine capability, including the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), and deploy terrestrial fiber optic networks across the region.
Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, said: “Our continued expansion will allow our business to take advantage of the opportunities created by the growing demand for online services during the current crisis. It is also a demonstration of our dynamic partnership with IFC.
According to an IFC report, around 22% of Africa’s population has access to an Internet connection, the weakest of any region in the world.
The African Union, with the support of the World Bank Group, has set itself the goal of connecting every individual, business and government on the continent by 2030, an initiative that this latest partnership should support.
Linda Munyengeterwa, Regional Industry Director for IFC Infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa, said: “IFC’s partnership with WIOCC will help increase Internet access across Africa, thereby improving life and enabling businesses to create and potentially maintain millions of jobs. With COVID-19 disrupting commerce and business activity in unprecedented ways, building a strong internet infrastructure in Africa is more important than ever. ”