Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) was an anchor investor in a recent successful bond issue by African telecommunications and digital company Axian Telecom. It raised US$420 million (€369.31 million).
EAIF has invested US$20 million (€17.59 million) in the bond, scaled back from an original commitment of up to US$40 million (€35.17 million), following strong private sector interest in the issue. Attracting private investment into African infrastructure is a core objective of PIDG and EAIF.
The new funds from EAIF will be used to expand the company’s footprint in Africa, specifically in Tanzania, Madagascar and Togo, increasing access to faster and more affordable internet for millions of consumers and supporting Sustainable Development Goal 9.
Hassanein Hiridjee, the chairman of Axian says, “The Axian business has been built in Africa by Africans. The markets we are in are full of potential and we are proud to support their economies and provide communications services to millions of Africans. EAIF’s confidence in Axian and its commitment to economic development in Africa is very welcome.”
Other anchor investors for the bond are the International Finance Corporation (IFC), DEG, the German international development organisation and CDC, the UK’s development finance institution.
Begun in 2004, Axian has since expanded into eight markets, through subsidiaries in Madagascar, Togo, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda and joint ventures in Senegal, Reunion/Mayotte and the Comoros.
Roland Janssens, a director at EAIF’s managers, Ninety One says, “This is a significant investment for EAIF. We are supporting the expansion of a successful indigenous African corporate at time of global financial market uncertainty in the wake of Covid. A number of the countries where Axian operates are particularly in need of more investment in digital and telecommunications infrastructure to grow their economies and lift business confidence.”
Anchoring the Axian bond is further confirmation of EAIF’s role in supporting the development of the digital and telecommunications sectors in Africa. In recent years, through investments in bonds or by conventional debt lending, EAIF has backed major African telecommunications businesses, including Liquid Telecom, HTA Group, IHS, Helios Towers, Sonatel and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company.