CSquared Link Holdings (Mauritius) Limited is a pan-African technology company committed to digitally connecting Africa by making impactful investments in telecommunications infrastructure throughout the region. To accelerate the expansion of its carrier-neutral, open-access broadband infrastructure, CSquared today announces new equity investments from both new and existing shareholders to finance its ambitious growth objectives.
The company has successfully raised US$25 million in new equity from CPDIF, IFC – International Finance Corporation and the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility. This is the first tranche in a broader US$65 million investment programme to finance CSquared’s expansion and growth. Additionally, CPDIF has simultaneously acquired the stake in CSquared held by Google LLC.
The new investment into the company will be used for network expansion as CSquared continues to drive digital infrastructure developments across its footprint and the broader African region. The well-established developmental impact of such investments is a cornerstone of CSquared’s vision and that of its shareholders. Such vision is to facilitate job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship and other developmental objectives which are enhanced by the uptake of internet access and digitalisation of the economy.
CSquared was launched as a project within Google in 2011 with the ambition of building metropolitan fibre optic networks in Sub-Saharan Africa as a carrier-neutral operator of shared infrastructure. The long-term vision for the Company is to increase Internet penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa and to reduce Internet access costs by investing in the infrastructure necessary to drive digital transformation in the region.
In October 2017, in order to accelerate the scope and scale of the business, additional investors namely, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Convergence Partners Communication Infrastructure Fund and IFC came on board to deepen existing market penetration and expand geographically as the partners looked to commercialize the Company. Under the guidance of its shareholders, the Company has successfully established operations in six markets across the continent, namely Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo. In addition, CSquared’s collaboration with Google in Togo was critical to delivering the first continental landing of the Equiano cable in Africa in March 2022, significantly transforming the affordability and availability of internet access in this previously under-served market.
Commenting on the transactions, Lanre Kolade, CSquared Group Chief Executive Officer, shared that he remains enthusiastic about the company’s future and its role in directly tackling the continent’s digital transformation challenge – he states “CSquared has demonstrated a proven track record in developing and commercialising carrier-neutral, open-access networks across Africa. We remain singularly focused on changing lives through the digitalisation of the region and providing #InternetForAll. The support from our investors, both existing and new, will transform our ability to deliver on this ambition. This involves expanding the digital broadband infrastructure footprint in all our current markets – Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, DRC & Togo, as well as expanding into new markets in the near future. Now, more than ever, the future is here #ADigitallyConnectedAfrica”.
Andile Ngcaba, Chairman and Founding Partner of Convergence Partners, added “The opportunity to increase our investment in CSquared via our most recently raised fund comes at a pivotal time for African digital development. The benefits of world-class connectivity span all layers of society and have never been more tangible. As investors in the Company since 2017 we have had a front-row view of the tremendous impact of open-access networks on the development of the African ICT ecosystem. The combination of developmental impact, as well as strong commercial returns, makes this an attractive investment for CPDIF and we are delighted to be able to shape the next phase of this journey”.
Commenting on its investment in CSquared, Sarvesh Suri, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure, Africa, said “Broadband connectivity is critical for Africa’s development. Our investment in CSquared is aligned with our regional strategy to develop digital infrastructure and promote the digital economy which can help leapfrog development for many African countries, support economic growth and stimulate job creation.”
FTI Capital Advisors DIFC Limited (“FTICA”) acted as financial advisor to CSquared on the capital raise and concurrent sale of the stake in CSquared held by Google LLC.
CSquared is a technology company, committed to a digitally connected Africa by making impactful investments into open-access broadband enabling infrastructure throughout Africa. While a basic connection is useful when it comes to Internet access, abundant, affordable broadband can transform communities and help people make the most of opportunities online. By investing in open-access broadband infrastructure and making it available to local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile network operators (MNOs), CSquared helps bring high-quality broadband access across Africa.
About Convergence Partners
Convergence Partners is a leading private equity investment manager focused on the technology sector in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 20-year history of investing successfully in digital infrastructure in the region. With more than US$600 million under management, including the recently launched Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund, which is focused on long-term investments in data centres, fibre networks, wireless and towers, edge, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Thing (IoT), cloud and fintech and platforms across the Continent. Convergence Partners’ team is located in offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, France and soon Kenya.
IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, the IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises.