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Liquid Telecom raises $307m to boost African data center

Liquid Telecom has raised $307 million through a rights issue to fund a rapid expansion of its data centre business across Africa.

Rights issues are offers made to shareholders to buy additional shares to the company which helps it to raise capital.


Liquid Telecom, which is majority-owned by Econet Global Ltd., has built more than 70,000 kilometres (43,500 miles) of fibre and operates five data centres in South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda.


In Rwanda, the firm owns what used to be Rwandatel, which they acquired in 2013.


In a statement, the group said that the rights issue included an additional $40 million from U.K. development finance institution CDC Group Plc.

The move comes as global technology giants are competing to establish affordable and efficient ways to extend high-speed internet and data storage across the continent, where demand is picking up as hundreds of millions of people start gaining access to web services.

“This will play an important role in addressing the increasing demand for digital services and help close the digital divide between Africa and other regions,” said CDC CEO Nick O’Donohoe.

He added: “Investing in Africa’s digital infrastructure is vital for building resilience within African economies and accelerating their growth.”

CDC, funded by the U.K. government, will invest more than $1.5 billion in African and Asian businesses this year.

Liquid Telecom is currently the leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries primarily in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa that serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services.

The fibre network operator is also planning to expand its data centre unit in five of the continent’s fastest-growing countries including Egypt and Nigeria.

According to data from Xalam Analytics, although Africa’s data centre capacity has doubled in the past three years, it still accounts for less than 1 per cent of the global total.

The continent also has significant untapped economic potential that is gradually being unlocked by improving connectivity, data storage and the use of cloud-based applications.

So far, Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. and Microsoft Corp. are among companies investing in data centre capacity in African countries in recent years.

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