Airtel strengthens sustainability plans with $194m IFC facility

Airtel Africa Plc has signed a new $194 million facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organisation of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group.

The new financing facility is in line with Airtel’s Africa strategy to increase debt within its operating companies.

The facility has a tenor of eight years and will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia, providing more diversified access to local funding.

Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, of Airtel Africa Plc said: “I am very excited to announce the signing of this new facility with IFC. Not only does it align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localising debt within our OpCos, but as we make progress on our sustainability journey it also supports our commitments and ability to meet strong ESG criteria. I look forward to working closely with IFC in the coming years as we explore further opportunities to support the economies and communities where we operate.”

Airtel Africa’s sustainability strategy was launched in October 2021, and set out the Group’s ambitious sustainability targets and long-term goals. It is supported by a framework of four sustainability pillars: Our Business, Our People, Our Community, and Our Environment.

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The Group’s sustainability targets are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals and are designed to deliver a real and positive impact. Airtel Africa’s inaugural Sustainability Report was published in October 2022, detailing the Group’s performance to date and the progress being made towards achieving the set targets and goals.

As part of IFC’s loan facility, Airtel Africa has committed to comply with the applicable requirements of IFC Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and has put in place a dedicated Environmental and Social Action plan. This will further underpin the Group’s commitment to transforming lives across the communities in which Airtel operates and provide clarity on how the Group can help address inequality and support economic growth in these communities.

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries. The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.”

IFC’s loan is supported by co-financing from institutional investors through IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Programme (MCPP). IFC’s loan in Zambia is supported by the Local Currency Facility of the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window. IFC’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling ubiquitous, reliable, and affordable connectivity