Liquid Telecom gets $180 million from UK for pan-African fibre network

Liquid Telecom has won a $180 million investment from British development finance agency CDC Group, which the firm will be using to deliver high-speed broadband, reliable connection and cloud services to communities and businesses across central and western Africa.

The Mauritius-based, privately owned firm said in a statement on Tuesday that the money will allow it to accelerate the expansion of its pan-African fibre network, which it says is already the largest on the continent, stretching from Cape Town at the southernmost tip of South Africa to Cairo in Egypt.

“Once completed, it will bring significant social and economic benefits – from providing access to online educational resources to supporting national economies, creating more jobs and driving the adoption of new technologies,” said Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom’s CEO.

Africa currently has the lowest rates of fixed and mobile broadband subscription penetration in the world, at 0.6 per 100 inhabitants and 29.7 per 100 inhabitants respectively, according to data published last week by the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union.

That compares to 31.3 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants and 93.6 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in Europe, leaving Africa with some way to go before it enjoys the same benefits from the digital economy.