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Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo, Democratic Republic of

Escotel Africa

$44.1 million
Renewable Energy
Summary of Proposed Guarantee

Project Description

This summary covers the equity and quasi-equity/shareholder loan investments by Escotel Mauritius, a Mauritius-incorporated holding company, which intends  to invest, into three project enterprises incorporated in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against the risks of transfer restriction and inconvertibility, war and civil disturbance (including business interruption) and expropriation for a period of up to 10 years.

The proposed guarantees to Escotel Mauritius are for a total amount of up to US$44.1 million and cover Escotel Mauritius investments to Escotel Sierra Leone Limited, Escotel Liberia Inc and Escotel DRC SARL.

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are at the core of Africa’s fast-growing digital economy. In Africa, MNOs have grown beyond the reach of grid electricity, having deploy a significant part of their tower infrastructure in areas without access to grid or unreliable power supply. The cost of operating Mobile Telecommunications Towers can be up to 60% of operating expenditures, which hinders the deployment of mobile coverage in rural areas at scale.

Solar Photovoltaic, energy store and hybrid power have emerged as competitive solutions for providing MNOs with reliable and cost-efficient power supply. In Sierra Leone, DRC and Liberia, Escotel has been awarded a contract with Orange for the installation and management of passive power infrastructures. The power infrastructure will include the installation and the operation and maintenance of solar photovoltaics, batteries, diesel gensets and associated power management infrastructure to provide reliable power for the Mobile Telecommunication Towers (MTT) owned by Orange.  

The project enterprises in Sierra Leone, Liberia and DRC will replace diesel power generation systems with energy efficient solar hybrid systems that provide: (i) low-cost power, due to a lower reliance on diesel generators; (ii) cleaner power, with fuel consumption reduction between 50% to 100%; and (iii) more reliable power to guaranteed uptime with availability levels of up to 99.9%.

MIGA’s exposure will be shared with the Private Sector Window (PSW) of IDA-18. For more information on PSW, please refer to the IDA-18 PSW website. PSW will participate in a first-loss facility that will help spread the risk between MIGA and IDA and reduce the cost of the guarantee for the project enterprises. The proposed PSW structure meets the minimum concessionality principle of IDA and the amount of subsidy is estimated to be 10% in Liberia, 14% in Sierra Leon and 17% in DRC of the total project cost over the envisaged 10-year guarantee period.

Environmental Categorization

The project is a Category B under MIGA’s Policy on Environmental and Social Sustainability. Click here for the project’s Environmental and Social Review Summary and Environmental and Social Action Plan.

Development Impact

The primary development impacts of the MIGA-covered projects are: (i) upgrading the telecom networks in DRC, Sierra Leone, and Liberia by refitting existing MTT with solar photovoltaic and hybrid power solutions, in addition to, or in place of, existing diesel generators; (ii) installing remote monitoring systems; and (iii) enabling the expansion of the telecom networks by providing reliable power to new on-grid and off-grid MTT. These will contribute to: (i) improved access to telecom and mobile services for the three countries, which have relatively low mobile and internet penetration rates, thereby substantially increasing access, including for underserved segments of society; (ii) direct and indirect contributions to increasing foreign direct investment in each of the three countries; (iii) new employment opportunities directly during the refitting and maintenance phase and  indirectly via ancillary businesses that will benefit from more stable connectivity; and (iv) energy savings and contribution to reducing GHG emissions by deploying self-sustaining telecom sites. Support for the projects is consistent with MIGA’s strategic emphasis on low-income and fragile and conflict-affected countries and projects with climate benefits.

In DRC, the company is currently negotiating the final terms of the agreement with Orange.