British International Investment

WorldLink Communications Limited

South AsiaCommunications & IT services

WorldLink is the largest private sector internet service provider in Nepal.

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

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Our investments in WorldLink Communications Limited aim to help the company amplify its impact by increasing internet access, particularly in underserved regions outside Kathmandu Valley, and creating direct job opportunities for youths and semi-skilled workers.

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
  • Increase and improve access to information and quality internet (SDG 9.c).
  • Provide income generating opportunities through direct job creation (SDG 8.5, 8.6).

How?

Primary Secondary
  • Direct: Our investment will be used as capex for network build-out which will enable WorldLink to increase subscriber footprint.
  • Direct: Our investment will create additional employment within WorldLink.
  • Catalysing markets: Demonstrate to other private internet service providers the commercial viability of expanding fixed broadband into the underserved regions outside the Kathmandu valley.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Customers - households and business owners

Pan-Nepal

  • Fixed broadband is affordable to households in the top 40 per cent income segment, the majority of whom are in the Kathmandu Valley.
  • Income inequality between the Kathmandu Valley and the rest of Nepal is high, resulting in regional differences in ability to pay.
  • We expect affordability to improve due to dropping prices.
  • SMEs, larger enterprises and government offices served by WorldLink are using digital services for productive use (e.g. payment services, cloud services).
  • We expect affordability to improve due to increased incomes for businesses as a result of improved productivity.
Employees

Pan-Nepal

Largely semi-skilled workers e.g. contracted technicians. Over 50 per cent of the workforce are young people aged 25 and under.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

By 2025, this investment will reach 5.7 million subscribers and 70 per cent of the customers will be outside of the Kathmandu Valley.

By 2025, WorldLink will have created employment opportunities for 8,500 staff.

Regions outside of the Kathmandu Valley remain the least digitally connected due to its mountainous nature that make infrastructure roll-out difficult and capex intensive. Many of the targeted subscribers may previously not have had access to the internet and we expect the impact will be transformative.

The impact of enhanced employment opportunities is expected to be transformative given WorldLink is a large employer in Nepal, a country with high unemployment rates. WorldLink also offers regular trainings, tailored programmes depending on role, mid-management trainings and self-learning programmes, as a way of upskilling the staff.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: Capital is not offered in sufficient quantity or on the same terms. The investor ecosystem is still nascent in Nepal and there is no other equity investor interested in this opportunity, so our capital is needed to enable the company to expand outside of the Kathmandu Valley.
  • Value additionality: Focuses on environmental and social and will help to reduce negative impact risks.

Risk

Execution Risk
  • Expanding into regions outside of the Kathmandu Valley remains a challenge due to the geographical limitations.
External Risk
  • Nepal poses several country-related risks, the main one being regulatory due to economic and political fragility.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We continue working on the ESAP and areas of focus that were identified at the time of the main investment via regular engagement with the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) manager and quarterly HSE Committees. Core areas of focus include strengthening HSE capacity, development of health and safety management and reporting among direct and contract workers, and integration of climate-resilience measures into expansion activities.

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.

    :
    D2758
    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.

    :
    South Asia
    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 :
    March 2019
    Amount :
    $11.85m
    Currency of investment :
    NPR
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Nepal

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $8.6m South Asia Communications & IT services July 2022 Active

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