According to the GSMA, 54% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to mobile telephone services despite the acceleration of digital transformation on the continent. These unconnected people mostly reside in rural areas.
Telecom tower builder Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) has secured a USD 20 million loan from Finnfund and BlueOrchard Finance to further expand its network in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. This investment should make it possible to provide telecom services to an additional 35 million people.
“ AMN connects the unconnected in sub-Saharan Africa by providing mobile network access for rural areas. We have a unique opportunity to accelerate digital inclusion in growing markets and digital infrastructure is a critical driver of sustainable growth and shared prosperity ,” said Philipp Mueller, CEO of BlueOrchard.
This investment will support AMN’s ambition to expand its portfolio from the current level of around 2,000 towers in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries to over 10,000 towers in over 20 countries in the region by the end of 2025 As part of the realization of this initiative, the company has multiplied investments in recent years, in particular with the financial and technical support of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Gilat Satellite Networks, Intelsat, Meta, among others.
In its “Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2022”, the GSMA (Mobile Operators and Manufacturers Association) reports that Sub-Saharan Africa had 515 million unique mobile subscribers in 2021. If this figure represents an increase of approximately 20 million subscribers compared to 2020, the penetration rate remains relatively low (only 46% of the population), especially in rural areas that are sometimes difficult to access.
The AMN project should help connect more people in a context marked by the acceleration of digital transformation. “ It is estimated that more than 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in villages that do not have usable mobile network service today. We set out to meet this challenge ,” said Michael Darcy, President and CEO of Africa Mobile Networks.