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BII, IFC, Proparco strike €87m deal to boost Senegal telecoms

Published: 24 May 2024

The investment structure ties the pricing of the loan to the achievement of measurable development goals.

Left to right: Sékou Drame, CEO, Sonatel; Sérgio Pimenta, IFC regional vice president for Africa and Chris Chijiutomi, managing director and head of Africa, BII sign the package | BII

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, is committing €25m in debt financing to Sonatel, the largest telecommunications operator in Senegal. The investment is part of a €87m financing package in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and French development agency Proparco.

The loan is aimed at speeding up the digital transformation of the West African country by improving key telecommunications infrastructure such as towers and cables in rural areas, and providing reliable and affordable mobile and fixed broadband services. 

“Investing in the digital infrastructure space is a priority for BII given its importance to address economic growth constraints in Africa,” said Chris Chijiutomi, managing director and head of Africa at BII.

BII’s investment in Sonatel will support the provision of high quality and affordable connectivity, fostering inclusive economic growth, particularly in rural areas, he added. “It also aligns with our goal to invest more in the Francophone West Africa region,” he said.

Focus on women and digital skills

The financing package, the first sustainable linked facility (SLF) in French-speaking West Africa, ties the pricing of the loan to the achievement of two measurable objectives: getting more women into management positions in Senegal and growing the reach of Sonatel’s digital skills programmes throughout the country.

“While improving customer experience, investments in innovative solutions should eventually boost economic opportunities in Senegal,” said Françoise Lombard, chief executive officer of Proparco. “We are also supportive of Sonatel’s commitment to provide ambitious training programmes targeting entrepreneurs and start-ups as well as to push for a higher representation of women in management positions.”

Olivier Buyoya, IFC regional director for West Africa, called the partnership “a significant milestone”, in the digital development of Senegal. “Our collective vision is to create a digitally enabled future where every individual has access to opportunities and resources, driving forward Senegal’s economic transformation and social progress.”

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