Airtel Africa said it signed a new $194 million facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group in a move to diversify local funding profile.
The telecom company said the new financing facility is in line with Airtel’s Africa strategy to increase debt within its operating companies.
It explained that the facility has a tenor of eight years and will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia, providing more diversified access to local funding.
As part of IFC’s loan facility, Airtel Africa has committed to comply with the applicable requirements of IFC Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and has put in place a dedicated Environmental and Social Action plan.
This will further underpin the Group’s commitment to transforming lives across the communities in which Airtel operates and provide clarity on how the Group can help address inequality and support economic growth in these communities.
Airtel Africa’s sustainability strategy was launched in October 2021 and set out the Group’s ambitious sustainability targets and long-term goals. Speaking to this, Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, said: “I am very excited to announce the signing of this new facility with IFC.
“Not only does it align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localizing debt within our OpCos, but as we make progress on our sustainability journey it also supports our commitments and ability to meet strong ESG criteria”.
“I look forward to working closely with IFC in the coming years as we explore further opportunities to support the economies and communities where we operate.”, Airtel Chief said.
Also, Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries.
“The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.”
IFC’s loan is supported by co-financing from institutional investors through IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP). IFC’s loan in Zambia is supported by the Local Currency Facility of the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window. IFC’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable connectivity, IFC VP noted.