“The fund is expected to play an important development role in Africa, where ICT infrastructure bottlenecks impede the growth of business and companies lack access to finance, especially risk capital and related expertise from investors that can help businesses succeed.”

The investment focus of the fund will be to address the lack of enabling infrastructure that provides quality and affordable communications services – especially broadband – across Africa. The fund aims to develop and invest in new wholesale, open access networks and related services, and will capitalise on the potential for communication technology platforms to deliver critical services such as banking, healthcare, education and government programmes that contribute to improved living standards.

Chairman of investment management and advisory firm Convergence Partners, Andile Ngcaba, says there is an exciting opportunity to accelerate the development of Africa through increased investment in critical infrastructure, specifically ICTs. “We are proud to be working together with the IFC in our new fund to deploy critical capital and expertise into this sector to the benefit of the continent.”

Saleem Karimjee, IFC senior country manager for SA, says: “The Convergence Partners Communications Infrastructure Fund will further spur Africa’s development. Access to communications helps improve economic competitiveness, facilitates efficient government services, increases the productivity of private businesses, and enhances living standards.”

Convergence Partners’ fund eventually aims to grow to $500 million, with the first closing of the fund scheduled for later in 2012. “This will also involve other investors, including local and international development finance institutions and banks.”

By Staff writer, ITWeb