On December 31, 2013, MIGA issued guarantees totaling $94.6 million covering non-shareholder loans to HT DRC Infraco SPRL (HTD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd., arranger of the commercial loan tranche (for itself, Investec Bank Ltd., Bank of Africa Kenya Ltd., and EAIF) and by DEG, the development finance institution arranger (for itself and BIO). The coverage is for a period of up to five years (Standard Bank and other commercial lenders) and seven years (DEG and BIO) against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, and war and civil disturbance.
Established by Helios Tower Africa of Mauritius in 2010, HTD is the only independent telecom tower company operating in the DRC. HTD provides passive infrastructure (space on towers, ground space, power, site maintenance and security) to telecom operators and internet services providers. Since commencing operations in 2011, HTD has signed tower lease agreements with all five mobile operators in the DRC. The financing provided by the lenders will support upgrading, reactivation, and expansion of HTD’s tower infrastructure.
With the construction of additional tower sites, existing and potential mobile operators and internet service providers will be able to expand the reach of their services both in terms of geography and capacity. Smaller and newer wireless operators will also benefit from reduced barriers to entry as they will have access to leased tower facilities and not have to build their own. In addition to reducing costs, the shared infrastructure will reduce operators’ carbon emission footprint.
This project is aligned with the World Bank Group Country Assistance Strategy’s objective of actively supporting job-creating private sector development in the DRC. Specific country development goals include building a modern national infrastructure and improving access to telecoms and new technologies.
MIGA’s support for this project is aligned with the Agency’s priorities of supporting investments into countries eligible for financing from the International Development Association and countries affected by conflict. It is also aligned with the Agency priority of supporting South-South investments.