$100m Investment to Improve Broadband Connectivity in Africa
World Bank Group member IFC has partnered with Google Inc., Converge Partners and Mitsui & Co. to improve internet access in underserved regions in Africa by investing in CSSquared, a technology company which invests in internet infrastructure and makes it available to local internet service providers (ISPs)and mobile operators, bringing high-quality broadband access to sub-Saharan Africa, Global Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Investments, IFC Aniko Szigetvari said, “This project demonstrates IFC’s commitment to increasing affordable and reliable internet access under the global Digital Infrastructure Initiative.” According to IFC, better broadband penetration directly impacts GDP growth, increases productivity and transparency and helps bridge the gender gap.
The investment will expand Google’s existing operations in Uganda and Ghana with the goal of entering new markets in the next five years. Fibre optic cable is expensive as just one kilometre can cost between £15, 000 and £30, 000 and Africa needs at least half a million more kilometres, IFC said. CSquared’s business model of deploying and operating infrastructure on a shared basis can help lower installation and consumer costs.
The company has built over 800km of fibre in Kampala and Entebbe, Uganda; and more than 840km in Accra, Tema and Kumasi, Ghana.
More than 25 ISPs and mobile operators now use CSquared’s fibre networks to offer broadband services and 4G data to consumers with over 1, 200 tower and commercial building sites directly connected to its fibre infrastructure.
“We believe that together under CSquared, we can get more done to roll-out and operate affordable, high-speed, and reliable infrastructure to expand internet access in Africa,” Marian Croak, Vice-President, Google said.