WASHINGTON DC, September 12, 2018 — MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, has issued guarantees for an investment by Senegalese telecommunications company SONATEL S.A.’s fifty percent stake in mobile operator Orange Sierra Leone (OSL) Limited, which is now jointly owned by SONATEL and Atlas Countries Support (ACS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA). The guarantees offer up to fifteen years’ protection against the risks of expropriation and war & civil disturbance.
The acquisition facilitates the modernization and expansion of OSL’s network in Sierra Leone through the deployment of additional telecom towers as well as significant improvement in network services to increase quality and reliability. More broadly, the acquisition will help strengthen the country’s Information and Communications (ICT) sector, which has been characterized by weak infrastructure, lack of national back bone, poor internet penetration rates and overall chronic under-investment.
“This investment reflects South-South collaboration in a sector critical for Sierra Leone’s long-term prospects,” said Keiko Honda, CEO and Executive Vice President of MIGA. “Improved mobile infrastructure will help increase government revenues, job creation, economic growth, and contribute to a more investor-friendly business climate.”
Sierra Leone has witnessed gradual growth in its information and communications technology sector since the end of a decade-long civil war in 2002. And with about 60 percent of the population being under 24 years old, demand for connectivity is on the rise.
Sonatel, Senegal’s first telecommunications operator, offers landline, mobile, internet, television and data services to a 26m client base outside of Senegal, namely in Mali, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.
In addition to traditional mobile services, OSL is one of the first operators to roll-out mobile money services in Sierra Leone, including deposits, withdrawals, transfers, and bill payments.
Importantly, the guarantee is being supported by a MIGA Guarantee Facility as part of the Eighteenth Replenishment of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window (IDA18 PSW). The Facility is designed to reduce project risk, and catalyze private sector investment in low-income and conflict-affected countries like Sierra Leone.
Mr Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President of Development Finance, stated “The IDA18 PSW is an innovative vehicle to mobilize greater private sector investment in challenging environments, to advance our poverty reduction and growth agenda. We are very pleased to support this endeavor in Sierra Leone.”
“MIGA’s political risk insurance coverage is imperative to ensuring the smooth acquisition of our stake in OSL and delivering results for our customers in Sierra Leone,” added SONATEL CEO Sékou Dramé.
MIGA was created in 1988 as a member of the World Bank Group to promote foreign direct investment in emerging economies by helping mitigate the risks of restrictions on currency conversion and transfer, breach of contract by governments, expropriation, and war & civil disturbance; and offering credit enhancement to private investors and lenders.
This year marks MIGA's 30th Anniversary. Over the last three decades, MIGA has directly supported almost $50 billion in investments for over 845 projects in 111 developing countries.
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