(Ecofin Agency) - According to the GSMA, 54% of the Sub-Saharan African population does not have access to mobile services. These unconnected people mostly live in remote rural areas that are hardly accessible to telecom operators' terrestrial networks.
Telecom tower builder Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) announced, Tuesday, it closed a $20 million loan from BlueOrchard and Finnfund. The funds will finance the deployment of mobile communication towers in rural and ultra-rural areas across Africa. This will bring mobile services to millions of unconnected people.
The loan was first announced in November 2022. It is part of AMN's growth strategy. The said growth was accelerated in 2021 by the investment of $36 million in the company's capital by a consortium led by Metier, CDC Group, DEG, Proparco, etc…
AMN's ambition is to expand its portfolio to have more than 10,000 towers in over 20 countries in the region by the end of 2025, covering more than 35 million people. Currently, the company's network consists of 2,000 towers in about 10 countries across the continent, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Congo, and Guinea. The company recently signed a partnership agreement with Orange to build 500 telecom towers in rural areas in Madagascar.
Improving mobile coverage is essential in a context where only 46% of the sub-Saharan African population has access to mobile services, according to data from the GSM Association (GSMA). In 2021, the region had 515 million unique mobile subscribers.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 1.1 billion people, one-seventh of the global population, 62% of which is classified as rural. It is not only the fastest growing region in the world but also has the world's largest population percentage that does not have mobile coverage,” says Michael Darcy, CEO of AMN.
Isaac K. Kassouwi