The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States government’s development finance institution has lent Africell Holdings Limited, $100 million to facilitate its expansion plans in Uganda and Congo.
Opic’s Connect Africa initiative aims at investing over $1 billion in Africa project.
According to a statement by the telecom company, the financial injection will be used to upgrade the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks to better voice data services, an integral component in the market. Other than the expansion plan of acquiring a 4G license for the DRC market, the telecom firm will use around $40 million to pay its outstanding debt.
With the financial injection, the U.S continues to increase its foreign direct investments Africa. According to EY Global’s 2018 Africa Attractiveness report, United States businesses made more FDI in Africa than any other country. The U.S remains Africa’s largest investor with China following closely.
Africell Uganda kicked off its operations in 2014 after a buyout of Orange Uganda, after six months in the pipeline for about $12 million. The company faces stiff competition from other telecom operators in the field including MTN Uganda and Bharti Airtel.
From the year 2000, both internet usage and population in Uganda continue to increase. Internet users in 2000, with a 24.4 million population were 40,000 and has grown to reach 13 million with a 41.6 million population last year.
Africell Holdings with operations in Gambia and Sierra Leone had a total of 11 million active subscribers by 2016. It still seeks to expand in West and Central Africa providing the voice and data services. Such infrastructure offers room for investments and facilitates business.
Like Ethiopia which opened its telco industry for businesses, Uganda is pulling foreign investments in various sectors. The inflows of FDI in the economy boost development, creation of employment and increase of revenue from different projects.