IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced its first investment in Comoros to Telecom Comores S.A., known as Telco SA. The €13 million ($15 million) loan has the potential to transform the mobile market in one of the least developed telecom markets in Africa and globally. It will support the introduction of competition in a previously monopolized sector and help address the significant gap in connectivity and affordability.
“IFC financing will allow us to compete by offering better services to industries that depend on reliable communications, including financial technology,” said Stephane Teyssedre, Chief Executive Officer of Telco SA.
For fragile and poor economies like Comoros, high-quality voice and data services are critical for economic integration with the East African region and export markets (including opening new market opportunities), and for social integration between the islands of Comoros, the sub-region, and with the large and active diaspora.
“Telco SA is a pioneering company that is reducing the cost of mobile communication and broadband in the Comoros. The new mobile broadband telecom infrastructure is a key component for creating an enabling environment for doing business in Africa” said Aniko Szigetvari, IFC Manager of Telecom, Media, and Technology.
The Telco SA infrastructure has the potential to create an enabling platform for an array of digital technology services in areas such as mobile money, e-health, e-agriculture and e-government. The company is the second mobile network operator in Comoros, introducing competition to the telecoms sector for the first time.
Telco SA provides nationwide wireless services using 2G, 3G and 4G technology under a global and unified license. It’s also the latest addition to IFC’s Telecommunications portfolio in emerging markets, which includes, Millicom (Chad), GrameenPhone (Bangladesh), Telecom Argentina (Argentina) and Otecel (Ecuador).
IFC supports the telecommunications sector as infrastructure is critical for a digital economy, and to promote social inclusion and business growth. Over the past three years, IFC has invested over US$1.5 billion in telecommunication, technology, and startup companies globally.
Supporting private sector growth in fragile countries is also at the core of IFC’s strategy in Africa. Over the past ten years, IFC has invested $3 billion in conflict-affected economies on the continent.