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IFC backs Liquid in African data centre, fibre push

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Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies executive chairman and founder, and Makhtar Diop, IFC managing director.
Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies executive chairman and founder, and Makhtar Diop, IFC managing director.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand data centre capacity and the rollout of fibre-optic cable on the African continent.

The partnership aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.

IFC’s equity and debt investments in Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which to date total approximately $250 million, will support the company to grow its hyperscale data centre capacity in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centres.

According to Liquid, as Africa’s population grows and is increasingly urbanised, data consumption is expected to grow strongly and with this comes the need for secure local data hosting.

It says the investments will also support Liquid Intelligent Technologies in the continued rollout of its fibre broadband network, which today covers more than 100 000km of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The continued build-out of its network will help to connect businesses and individuals to the internet across the continent and position Liquid intelligent Technologies to be at the forefront of Africa’s digital transformation with the provision of complementary digital services, the company says.

“We are very pleased that IFC continues to support Liquid. The investments in our data centres and fibre broadband network will directly support our growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as cloud and other digital services; services that are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa,” says Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies executive chairman and founder.

“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming how people, businesses and governments communicate, transact and access information and services. By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better,” says Makhtar Diop, IFC managing director.

Liquid says in a statement that digital infrastructure is the backbone of the digital economy, but Sub-Saharan Africa needs around $100 billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable and high-quality broadband access by 2030, according to the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development.

To achieve universal broadband access, it says, the continent needs at least 250 000km of new fibre.

IFC’s latest investment in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February through Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The issuance raised $620 million.

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