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TowerCo Uganda Secures US$40 Million European Backing For Rural Telecom Expansion

TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured US$40 million long-term financing from European development finance partners, including the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) and Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries, to support new investment aimed at significantly improving mobile phone network coverage in rural areas of Uganda, unlocking digital empowerment and economic advancement.

TowerCo of Africa is a fully owned subsidiary of pan-African telecommunications service provider Axian Telecom and is one of Africa’s fastest-growing tower infrastructure companies, with operations in Madagascar, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Over the course of the last decade TowerCo of Africa has steadily expanded its African operations order to meet the growing demand for a better-connected Africa.

Geoffrey Donnels Oketayot, CEO of TowerCo of Africa Uganda, said “This new financing backing from European development finance partners is a testament to our shared vision of connecting communities and fostering economic growth here in the heart of Africa. The deployment of hundreds of new telecom towers across Uganda will make a significant leap towards ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital age.”

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The 10-year financing will support installation of 506 new telecom towers, strategically positioned in rural areas that currently lack mobile network access or where existing mobile networks are saturated.

The new telecom towers will be mainly powered by renewable energy and enable rural communities to access 4G and 5G data services, mobile money solutions, and foster financial inclusion.

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At present only 65% of Uganda has mobile network coverage. The new investment reinforces the imperative to address coverage challenges and will play a significant role in advancing the country’s 95% coverage goal.

The European backed network investment by TowerCo of Africa Uganda will overcome a key barrier holding back telecom access in rural Africa.

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The 506 new towers will be shared by multiple mobile network operators, addressing challenges that have historically hindered telecom expansion in rural areas, ensuring commercial viability for network expansion and providing more comprehensive and inclusive network access for rural communities.

A significant portion of the new towers will be powered by solar energy, reducing the risk of fuel and generator theft, and aligning with TowerCo of Africa Uganda dedication to responsible infrastructure development and climate action.

Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President said, “The European Investment Bank is committed to tackling the digital divide in Africa and is happy to support TowerCo of Africa Uganda’s engagement to transform rural connectivity across Uganda. Bridging the digital divide is a key focus of the EU Global Gateway initiative and crucial for inclusive development, and this partnership where the Bank is involved with both project and development finance partners exemplifies our shared commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of rural populations.”

The new telecom towers will be installed over the next two years and the rural telecom expansion initiative is expected to create 2,000 skilled and unskilled jobs for local communities during construction.

The European Investment Bank, supported by the ACP Trust Fund, has agreed to provide US$ 16 million and the Development Bank of Austria and Belgium US$ 12 million each for the new investment by TowerCo of Africa Uganda.

Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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