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By 12 December 2018 | Categories: news

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This year has seen some significant investments being made into South Africa, the local IT sector, South African companies, and the continent. Even as 2018 draws to a close, that trend shows no sign of abating. Indeed, yet another substantial investment has been made, with CDC Group Plc, the UK’s development finance institution, reaching an agreement with pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom to invest $180m (about R2.5 billion) with the company.

The investment will enable Liquid Telecom to expand its high-speed broadband connectivity to some of the most underserved communities across the African continent, including supporting Africa’s thriving tech start-up ecosystem with high-speed internet and cloud-based services.

Furthermore, it will also enable Liquid Telecom to increase its network expansion and build upon its Cape to Cairo terrestrial fibre link. The latter serves some of the most remote locations with the fastest network speeds in Africa - from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central, and Eastern African countries, and has now reached Sudan and Egypt. According to Liquid Telecom, the network also  passes through some of the most remote corners of the planet and continues to provide new opportunities to connect underserved communities.

Connecting everyone, everywhere

“Our vision is to give every individual on the African continent the right to be connected by bringing reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity and cloud services to all. This includes businesses and communities in some of the most remote parts of the continent,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, Liquid Telecom.

He elaborated that the investment will help the company accelerate the aforementioned Cape-to-Cairo into Central and Western Africa.

“Once completed, it will bring significant economic and social benefits – from providing access to online educational resources to supporting national economies, creating more jobs and driving the adoption of new technologies. This is aligned to the vision of our Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa to not only connect Africa from North to South, but also from East to West,” he enthused.

Addressing shortfalls

Nick O’Donohoe, CEO, CDC Group Plc, noted that digital infrastructure is still a major problem for Africa’s governments, people and its businesses, so improving access to affordable and quality internet is central to Africa’s development and economic growth. “Our investment in Liquid Telecom – which is one of CDC’s biggest ever investments - plays an important part in addressing infrastructure bottlenecks and helps bring about the innovation and efficiency gains that result from better internet access,” he added.

Clearly, many companies and countries are seeing significant potential in the South African and African markets moving forward. That’s not exactly new, but what is impossible to ignore now is that companies are genuinely putting their money (investment) where their mouths are.  

Hope ahead

Huawei, Amazon and Microsoft are all entering the local cloud market in a big way, while this month Internet Solutions unveiled its Parklands data centre, itself a half a billion rand investment in the technological promise that South Africa shows. We don’t have to speculate that the investment signifies hope in the country/continent’s potential, O’Donohoe stated as such.

“Africans have benefited hugely from the local mobile phone industry that CDC backed twenty years ago and we have similar hopes for our investments in Africa’s growing digital infrastructure,” he concluded.

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