British International Investment

Liquid Telecommunications Holding Limited

East AfricaSouthern AfricaWestern EuropeCommunications & IT services

Liquid Telecom is a leading technology and digital solutions provider in eastern, central and southern Africa. Liquid Telecom is the largest independent fibre and cloud provider in Africa. It has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network. It also operates state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, and is a leading provider of cloud-based services across Africa.

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

Our investment

Description of the investment.

We invested in Liquid Telecommunications to improve access to affordable and quality connectivity in Africa. The investment will accelerate Liquid's expansion along its Cape-to-Cairo route and further into Central and Western Africa. In 2020, we made a follow-on investment to support Liquid’s data centre expansion.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact
  • Improve access, quality and affordability of mobile broadband services (SDG 9C).
  • Improve economic opportunities from greater productivity of firms (SDG 8.2) and job creation (SDG 8.5).

How?

How?
  • CDC’s investment will enable Liquid to build critical digital infrastructure to improve the availability, quality and affordability of connectivity services.
  • Economic enabler: Improving firm productivity through improved digital infrastructure, including outsourcing and localised data storage.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Customers

Pan-Africa

Employees

Pan-Africa

Broad based as the productivity benefits will accrue to small and large firms in the formal economy benefiting the employees and customers of these businesses.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration
  • Customers: Expected to help connect millions of users: for example, Liquid’s expansion in DRC and Sudan is expected to increase mobile penetration by 12 per cent in DRC and 20 per cent in Sudan, contributing 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively over next five years GDP.
  • Employees: World Bank data from 2016 show that African firms using the internet have 3.7 times higher labour productivity than non-users.
  • Customers (depth): Expected that the price of data will drop and the quality of internet improve in the geographies with expansion of Liquid’s fibre network.
  • Customers (duration): Cloud adoption and outsourcing of data centres is sticky and therefore we expect the impact to be long-lasting.
  • Employees (depth): The data centres in South Africa and Kenya are estimated to generate tens of millions of dollars in direct and indirect income to the local economies.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: The commercial market does not offer capital in sufficient quantities to meet the company's plans or needs, and does not offer capital on the same terms.
  • Value additionality: Our support focuses on strengthening governance; environmental, social and governance management and energy efficiency interventions; as well as impact evaluation.

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.

3

Risk

Execution Risk
  • Fibre roll-out slower than anticipated.
External Risk
  • Require sufficient competition in the mobile connectivity market to drive down prices as well as the risk of governments/regulatory bodies restricting access to internet and content.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • negative effect on climate change as data centres are energy intensive.

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.

    :
    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D3552
    Status

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

    :
    Active
    Region

    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.

    :
    East Africa, Southern Africa, Western Europe
    Country

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.

    :
    Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe
    Sector

    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 :
    Equity
    Start date :
    December 2018
    Amount :
    $180m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Mauritius

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $40m East Africa, Southern Africa, Western Europe Communications & IT services July 2020 Active

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