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TowerCo Secures $40M to Boost Uganda’s Rural Telecom Expansion

TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured funds to drive the installation of 506 new telecom towers, significantly improving mobile phone network coverage in rural areas of Uganda.

Story Highlights
  • TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured $40M from European development finance partners, including the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Austria, and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries.
  • Currently, only 65% of Uganda has mobile network coverage, and TowerCo's new investment is a crucial step toward achieving the country's 95% coverage goal.
  • 2,000 jobs will be created for local communities during TowerCo's tower installation, offering both economic and digital opportunities for rural Uganda.

In a groundbreaking initiative, TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured USD$40 million (approx. UGX156.2 billion) in long-term financing from European development finance partners, including the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Austria, and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries to drive the installation of 506 new telecom towers, significantly improving mobile phone network coverage in rural areas of Uganda.

This 10-year financing endeavor aims to tackle the digital divide in Uganda by strategically placing telecom towers in rural areas with limited mobile network access. These towers, predominantly powered by renewable energy, are expected to provide rural communities access to 4G and 5G data services, mobile money solutions, and foster financial inclusion.

Currently, only 65% of Uganda has mobile network coverage, and this new investment is a crucial step toward achieving the country’s 95% coverage goal. The project addresses coverage challenges by sharing the new towers among multiple mobile network operators, ensuring commercial viability, and providing comprehensive and inclusive network access to rural communities.

A significant portion of the new towers will be powered by solar energy, aligning with TowerCo of Africa Uganda’s commitment to responsible infrastructure development and climate action. The use of solar energy not only reduces the risk of fuel and generator theft but also supports sustainable development.

Geoffrey Donnels Oketayot, CEO of TowerCo of Africa Uganda, expressed enthusiasm about the European-backed financing. “This new financing backing from European development finance partners is a testament to our shared vision of connecting communities and fostering economic growth here in the heart of Africa,” he said.

The European Investment Bank Vice President, Thomas Ostros, highlighted the bank’s commitment to bridging the digital divide in Africa — noting that “Bridging the digital divide is a key focus of the EU Global Gateway initiative and crucial for inclusive development.”

Nada Shall, Liaison Officer East-Africa for BIO, added, “Belgium is delighted to contribute to expanding mobile coverage in Uganda. This project aligns with our goal of empowering communities through sustainable development.”

Sabine Gaber, a Member of the Executive Board of OeEB, emphasized the importance of providing rural areas with access to modern telecommunication services for economic and social progress.

The initiative is expected to create 2,000 skilled and unskilled jobs for local communities during the tower installation, offering both economic and digital opportunities for rural Uganda. The new telecom towers are scheduled for installation over the next two years, marking a significant leap toward a connected and inclusive future for the country.

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