IFC mulls $200m loan for Airtel Africa upgrade plan

IFC mulls $200m loan for Airtel Africa upgrade plan

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced it is in discussion to loan Airtel Africa US$200 million, to fill the operator's coffers to fund network expansion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Kenya. 

In a disclosure, the IFC stated capex will involve “modernising” Airtel Africa’s network by purchasing “active equipment on site for 4G” such as antennas, software updates, packet score, base transceiver stations, and acquisition of fibre capacity. 

The money will also be used to refinance USD-heavy debt. 

This will be the IFC’s second investment into Airtel Africa, the first was in 2022 for an undisclosed amount to expand networks in seven African countries. Environmental and social performance of this investment was noted as “satisfactory” over the two years since the cash injection. 

Airtel Africa had been making moves to expand its network to support growing demand for connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa. 

According to the GSMA, Sub-Saharan Africa saw 3% 5G adoption in 2024 but the industry body predicted this rate will rise to 17% by 2030. It also predicted almost half of users in the regions will be connected to 4G.

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