Google, partners to invest R1,3bn in Africa

Google, together with South Africa's Convergence Partners and other investors, will invest as much as US$100m in metro fibre networks in key parts of Africa.

Andile Ngcaba

Google, together with South Africa’s Convergence Partners and other investors, will invest as much as US$100m (R1,3bn) in metro fibre networks in key parts of Africa.

The US Internet giant and Convergence Partners, which is the investment vehicle controlled by South African ICT businessman Andile Ngcaba, will make the investments together with the International Finance Corp and Japan’s Mitsui & Co.

The investments will be made into CSquared, a pan-African wholesale broadband provider headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The partners have agreed to invest up to $100m for the existing metro fibre network operations in Uganda and Ghana, plus new markets in the future,” Convergence Partners said in a statement on Friday.

Convergence Partners’ investment will be housed in its Communications Infrastructure Fund (CPCIF), which it said is the only infrastructure fund dedicated solely to ICT in Africa.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

CSquared, initially started by Google as Project Link, is a carrier-neutral, open-access and wholesale provider of high-speed metro fibre in sub-Saharan Africa. It has high-quality fibre networks in Uganda (800km in Kampala and Entebbe) and Ghana (840km in Accra, Tema and Kumasi).

“The introduction of the new partners will accelerate growth of the existing operations and plans for expansion into further markets,” Convergence Partners said.

Ngcaba, who is also chairman of Dimension Data Middle East & Africa, said CSquared’s “disruptive model of deploying and operating infrastructure on an open-access, shared basis will be instrumental in delivering commercial and developmental benefits through the unlocking of pervasive broadband access”.

“The impact of broadband access as a catalyst for economic development is undeniable and well documented,” Ngcaba said.

He said the four-way partnership between Convergence Partners, Google, IFC and Mitsui represents “like-minded investors and players with capability and experience in the ICT infrastructure space”.  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media

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