CSquared raises $25m equity funding to fuel Africa expansion, announces Google’s exit

CSquared also announced that Google has exited its stakes with the company
Lanre Kolade

CSquared Link Holdings, a pan-African technology company, has successfully raised $25 million in new equity funding. The new funding which is the first tranche in a broader $65 million investment programme will be put into financing the company’s expansion and growth according to a statement seen by Technext.

Organisations that participated in the equity investment include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility, and the Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF). The company also announced that Google has exited its CSquared stakes which has simultaneously been acquired by the CPDIF.

Commenting on the transactions, CSquared Group Chief Executive Officer, Lanre Kolade, said that he remains enthusiastic about the company’s future and its role in directly tackling the continent’s digital transformation challenges.

“CSquared has demonstrated a proven track record in developing and commercialising carrier-neutral, open-access networks across Africa.  We remain singularly focused on changing lives through the digitalisation of the region and providing #InternetForAll.

Lanre Kolade

He said the support from investors, both existing and new, will transform the company’s ability to deliver on this ambition. This involves expanding the digital broadband infrastructure footprint in all of its current markets which includes Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, DRC & Togo, as well as expanding into new markets in future.

Google appoints Alex Okosi as new Managing Director for Africa
Google has exited its stakes in the company

About CSquared

CSquared was launched as a project within Google in 2011 with the ambition of building metropolitan fibre optic networks in Sub-Saharan Africa as a carrier-neutral operator of shared infrastructure. It describes itself as a technology company committed to a digitally connected Africa by making impactful investments into open-access broadband enabling infrastructure throughout Africa.

The company says it is bringing high-quality broadband access across Africa by investing in open-access broadband infrastructure and making it available to local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile network operators (MNOs). The long-term vision for the Company is to increase Internet penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa and to reduce Internet access costs by investing in the infrastructure necessary to drive digital transformation in the region.

In October 2017, to accelerate the scope and scale of the business, additional investors namely, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Convergence Partners Communication Infrastructure Fund and IFC came on board to deepen existing market penetration and expand geographically as the partners looked to commercialize the Company.

Under the guidance of its shareholders, the Company has successfully established operations in six markets across the continent, namely Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo. In addition, CSquared’s collaboration with Google in Togo was critical to delivering the first continental landing of the Equiano cable in Africa in March 2022, significantly transforming the affordability and availability of internet access in this previously under-served market.

CSquared raises $25m equity funding, announces Google's exit

Convergence Partners is particularly pleased with its investment in the company as well as the opportunity to increase it. Chairman and Founding Partner Andile Ngcaba, said the opportunity to increase their investment in CSquared via our most recently raised fund comes at a pivotal time for African digital development. 

“The benefits of world-class connectivity span all layers of society and have never been more tangible. As investors in the Company since 2017 we have had a front-row view of the tremendous impact of open-access networks on the development of the African ICT ecosystem. The combination of developmental impact, as well as strong commercial returns makes this an attractive investment for CPDIF and we are delighted to be able to shape the next phase of this journey,” he said.

The company said the new investment will be used for network expansion as it continues to drive digital infrastructure developments across its footprint and the broader African region. It says the well-established developmental impact of such investments is a cornerstone of its vision and that of its shareholders. Such vision is to facilitate job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship and other developmental objectives which are enhanced by the uptake of internet access and digitalisation of the economy.

Commenting on its investment in CSquared, Sarvesh Suri, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure, Africa, said “Broadband connectivity is critical for Africa’s development. Our investment in CSquared is aligned with our regional strategy to develop digital infrastructure and promote the digital economy which can help leapfrog development for many African countries, support economic growth and stimulate job creation.” 

See also: All you need to know about Google’s 144 terabit-per-second capacity subsea cable, Equiano

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