Airtel Africa signed a new US$194 million facility with World Bank sister organisation the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a move to upgrade operations across its footprint in Africa.
The Bharti Airtel subsidiary detailed the loan has a repayment period of eight years and will be used to support operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia. The operator said the loan provides “a more diversified access to local funding”, and is in line with its debt-increasing strategy.
As part of the facility, Airtel Africa committed to complying with the IFC’s Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability framework, alongside its dedicated environmental and social action plan.
Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya (pictured) 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 localising debt within our operating companies, 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.”
IFC vice president for Africa Sergio Pimenta added: “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.”
Airtel Africa made multiple moves to expand its operations on the continent, with the most recent being its deal struck with OneWeb to tap into low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity and its spectrum acquisition in Tanzania.