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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced this week that it has formed a partnership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand data centre capacity and the rollout of fiber-optic cable on the continent.

IFC’s equity and debt investments in Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which to date total approximately $250 million, will support the company to grow its hyperscale data centre capacity in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa through its subsidiary, Africa Data Centres.

 The investments will also support Liquid Intelligent Technologies in the continued rollout of its fiber broadband network, which today covers more than 100 000 kilometers of sub-Saharan Africa.

The continued build out of its network will help to connect businesses and individuals to the Internet across the continent. It will also position Liquid intelligent Technologies to be at the forefront of Africa’s digital transformation with the provision of complementary digital services.

 As Africa’s population grows and is increasingly urbanised, data consumption is expected to grow strongly and with this comes the need for secure local data hosting.

Therefore, IFC said the partnership would help increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.

 “We are very pleased that IFC continues to support Liquid," Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Executive Chairman and Founder, said in a statement released on Monday.

"The investments in our data centres and fiber broadband network will directly support our growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as Cloud and other digital services,” he added.

“These services are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa."

The latest investment of IFC, which is part of the World Bank, in Liquid follows its investment in the company in February 2021 through Liquid’s bond placement on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange. The issuance raised $620 million.

IFC MD Makhtar Diop said digital technologies were rapidly transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate, transact, and access information and services. 

“By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better,” Senegal-born Diop pointed out.

Digital infrastructure is the backbone of the digital economy, but sub-Saharan Africa needs around $100 billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband access by 2030, according to the Broadband Commission on Sustainable Development.

Therefore, the continent needs at least 250 000 kilometers of new fiber to achieve universal broadband access.

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