- The financing firms up Central, Southern and East Africa’s growing digital economies through Paratus’ data centres and fibre links.
- Funding will create three separate fibre routes connecting Angola-Mozambique, Namibia-Republic of Congo, South Africa and Zambia.
- Under the deal, Paratus will also expand the portfolio of four data centres while constructing Angola’s first Tier IV facility.
The digital connectivity of a continent plays a crucial role in shaping its economic growth and development. Africa, a continent often regarded as the cradle of human civilization, is experiencing advancements in its digital infrastructure.
The latest stride in this journey towards a tech-savvy Africa is a substantial commitment by the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a Private Infrastructure Development Group, and its fund manager, Ninety One.
This deal involves a $31 million loan financing directed towards Paratus Group to finance the expansion of its fibre and data center business over the next three years.
Schalk Erasmus, CEO at Paratus, noted, “Widening access to fibre and data centres in key African markets will progress development and inclusive growth-maximising opportunities in countries where entrepreneurial spirit abounds. EAIF and Ninety One’s commitment sends the right signal to the rest of the market and reinforces our mission to support a more connected and technologically advanced Africa.”
Paratus fibre fueling Africa’s digital revolution
The investment reflects the growing recognition of Africa’s immense potential in the digital arena. It also shows increasing efforts to fuel the continent’s digital revolution.
In the deal, Ninety One acted as the mandated lead arranger of the transaction. It mobilised capital from two of its funds: EAIF and Ninety One Africa Credit Opportunities. The financing will enhance last-mile connectivity and introduce more reliable internet services across three sub-regions and six countries in Africa. Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, the Republic of Congo, South Africa and Zambia are set to benefit from these investments.
This transaction will serve as a significant step in bolstering the essential digital infrastructure of Africa. Digital infrastructure is a critical foundation for the development of more advanced economies.
The expansion of Paratus’s fibre business will include the establishment of three new fibre routes. Paratus seeks to connecting key locations such as Walvis Bay to Johannesburg and Maputo, Brazzaville to Johannesburg and Maputo, and Luanda to Lusaka and Dar Es Salaam.
Fibre for seamless data connectivity
This fibre expansion investment will add to Paratus’ network spanning over 10,000 kilometres. These new fibre projects, which link the western and eastern coasts of Africa, will greatly enhance connectivity. They will also facilitate seamless data transmission, and improve access to a wide array of digital services.
EAIF’s investment will also help finance the construction of Angola’s first Tier IV data centre. What’s more, it will fund Paratus’s fifth carrier neutral data centre in southern Africa. Once complete, this will add to Paratus’ two other Tier III data centres in Luanda, Angola.
The 10MW facility will position Paratus’s network in Angola as a regional hub. This move will see Paratus capture opportunities created by the Equiano subsea internet cable, connecting Europe to Africa’s west coast.
Entrenching its presence in key markets builds on Paratus’s commitment to growing African businesses through reliable data connections and PIDG’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 9, to build resilient infrastructure, creating digitally-enabled economic opportunities.
Africa’s 1.1 billion fibre users
Facilitating this growth is critical to unlocking the potential across Africa. Estimates show that 1.1 billion new unique users must be connected to achieve universal broadband access by 2030. Building world-class digital infrastructure will encourage the continent’s entrepreneurs to expand services through disruptive and high-growth businesses.
Commenting on the transaction, Sine Zulu, Investment Specialist at Ninety One, fund manager of the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, said, “This financing is a key demonstration of the growing demand for connectivity and data on the continent.
EAIF’s structuring expertise and ability to mobilise private capital into digital infrastructure in emerging economies has enabled finance to flow where it is needed most. The collaboration of Ninety One’s Africa Credit Opportunities and EAIF is a progressive partnership designed to deliver high-impact infrastructure projects.”
Paratus footprint extends beyond Africa to international (points of presence) PoPs in the UK, Europe, and the USA. Currently, the firm has a presence in seven African countries – Angola, Botswana, DRC, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia. Overall, it provides a satellite connectivity-focused service in over 35 African countries.