(Ecofin Agency) - Convergence Partners, a South African-based investment management firm has announced the initial close for Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF). The private equity investor’s third fund raised $120 million and aims to reach $250 million by the final close.
Investors participating in this close include mainly American and European development financial institutions – UK’s development finance institution CDC Group, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), US-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the French development finance institution Proparco.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there is still much work to drive digital inclusion. Today, Africa is experiencing the highest growth in international internet bandwidth compared to any other region in the world. As we embark on this journey as CPDIF, the next twelve years will be spent continuing to build on our original vision of ubiquitous pan-African communications. As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) commences in the same year, we embark on the next step of our journey as Convergence Partners. We believe that AfCFTA will benefit immensely from the availability of digital infrastructure. Our greatest strength is our knowledge of technology, investments, and deep understanding of the African market and cultures,” said Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners.
Despite the impressive growth that Africa’s digital infrastructure recorded globally, fixed broadband penetration in sub-Saharan Africa still lags. According to a report -“The rise of Africa’s digital” -published early this year by the European Investment Bank, an estimated 900 million people across the continent are still not connected to the internet. Also, connectivity prices remain mostly high and bandwidth is highly limited in many areas. Added to internet connectivity issues, other basics - electricity, literacy, financial inclusion, and regulations – also make access to the available digital solutions difficult.
Founded in 2006, Convergence Partners has raised a total of $470 million across three funds, their latest being Convergence Partners Communications Infrastructure Fund which hit a final close on Jul 28, 2015, by raising a total of $200 million.