British International Investment

Bharti Airtel

AfricaCommunications & IT services

Bharti Airtel Africa (BAA) is one of the largest mobile operators in Africa, having acquired 15 country operations from mobile and data operator Zain, and subsequently adding operations in Rwanda and the Seychelles.

It is part of Bharti Airtel Limited, a New Delhi-based global telecomms company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, and the largest mobile network operator in India.

Across all markets, Bharti Airtel pursues a high-volume, low-price business model which benefits low-income consumers and expands the reach of mobile communications to underserved customer groups.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

We have now exited this investment. This is what we achieved.

Achieved impact

The penetration rate for mobile telecoms in sub-Saharan Africa is about 47 per cent, far lower than other developing countries such as India where it is over 75 per cent. Growth has been constrained by low incomes, poor infrastructure and limited network coverage outside of major cities.

Our investment is expected to add 1,300 new direct jobs to the company's current workforce of over 5,000 by 2016.
The upgrade in infrastructure and technology will support the creation of many more indirect jobs in partner and supplier companies. It will also provide a larger share of the population with internet access and services such as mobile banking.

Bharti’s presence in Africa has already led to lower tariffs in several markets due to its price strategy and its One Network service. This enables customers to avoid roaming charges when they travel between the countries in which Airtel operates.

Our investment will also help generate government revenues, through both direct taxation, and through licence and access fees.

Expected impact

In 2014, CDC agreed to provide up to €30 million to Bharti Airtel Africa as part of a €205 million debt facility.

The facility, provided by a consortium of DFIs, is helping BAA expand its telecomms provision across 17 African countries, including some of the least developed states.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.


    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    Communications & IT services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Start date :
    December 2013
    End date :
    September 2015
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.


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