TowerCo of Africa Secures $40 mn Funding to Expand Rural Mobile Network Coverage

TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured a $40 million long-term financing package from European development finance partners.
Kazakhstan mobile networkThis funding, comprising contributions from the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB), and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries, aims to bolster new investments targeting the enhancement of mobile phone network coverage in rural areas across Uganda.

The 10-year financing initiative will facilitate the installation of 506 new telecom towers, strategically positioned in remote regions currently underserved by mobile network access or where existing infrastructure is inadequate.

These towers will predominantly rely on renewable energy sources, ensuring sustainability while enabling rural communities to access advanced 4G and 5G data services, mobile financial solutions, and promoting financial inclusivity.

Presently, only 65 percent of Uganda enjoys mobile network coverage, emphasizing the critical need to address coverage gaps. This investment aligns with the country’s goal of achieving 95 percent coverage, signifying a significant leap towards bridging the digital divide.

The European-backed network investment spearheaded by TowerCo of Africa Uganda marks a pivotal milestone in overcoming the primary barrier impeding telecom access in rural Africa. By facilitating shared usage among multiple mobile network operators, the 506 new towers will mitigate historical challenges hindering telecom expansion in rural areas, ensuring commercial viability and extending comprehensive network access to rural communities.

Moreover, a substantial portion of these new towers will be powered by solar energy, mitigating the risk of fuel and generator theft, and echoing TowerCo of Africa Uganda’s commitment to responsible infrastructure development and climate action.

“The deployment of hundreds of new telecom towers across Uganda will significantly contribute to ensuring no one is left behind in the digital era,” Geoffrey Donnels Oketayot, CEO of TowerCo of Africa Uganda, said.

Thomas Ostros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, highlighted the institution’s commitment to bridging the digital divide in Africa, emphasizing the transformative potential of this partnership in enhancing rural connectivity across Uganda.

Nada Shall, Liaison Officer East-Africa for the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries, emphasized Belgium’s commitment to sustainable development and community empowerment, anticipating the transformative effects of the project on rural areas.

Sabine Gaber, Member of the Executive Board of OeEB, underscored the importance of providing rural areas with modern telecommunication services for economic and social progress, affirming the organization’s dedication to creating positive change through innovative solutions.

Over the next two years, the installation of new telecom towers is expected to create approximately 2,000 skilled and unskilled jobs for local communities, further contributing to economic empowerment and growth.

The funding package, with the European Investment Bank providing $16 million and the Development Bank of Austria and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries contributing $12 million each, symbolizes a significant stride towards narrowing the digital divide and fostering sustainable development in Uganda.

TowerCo of Africa Uganda, a subsidiary of Axian Telecom, operates across Madagascar, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.