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European Investment Spurs Telecom Tower Expansion in Uganda


Europeans provide Sh156 Bn for telecom towers
Europeans provide Sh156 Bn for telecom towers

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TowerCo of Africa Uganda has secured significant long-term financing of US$40 million from European partners to enhance mobile phone network coverage in rural areas of Uganda. The funding, facilitated by the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB), and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, aims to unlock digital empowerment and economic advancement in the region.

The 10-year financing package will support the installation of 506 new telecom towers strategically positioned in rural areas lacking mobile network access or experiencing saturation in existing mobile networks. These towers, predominantly powered by renewable energy, will enable rural communities to access 4G and 5G data services, mobile money solutions, and promote financial inclusion.

With only 65% of Uganda currently covered by mobile networks, this investment reinforces the country’s goal of achieving 95% coverage. The European-backed initiative by TowerCo of Africa Uganda addresses a significant barrier to telecom access in rural Africa.

By deploying the new towers, TowerCo of Africa Uganda aims to address challenges hindering telecom expansion in rural areas, including the sharing of towers among multiple mobile network operators. This approach ensures commercial viability for network expansion and fosters comprehensive and inclusive network access for rural communities.

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A substantial portion of the new towers will be powered by solar energy, aligning with TowerCo of Africa Uganda’s commitment to responsible infrastructure development and climate action, while reducing the risk of fuel and generator theft.

Geoffrey Donnels Oketayot, CEO of TowerCo of Africa Uganda, expressed gratitude for the European development finance partners’ support, emphasizing their shared vision of connecting communities and driving economic growth in Africa. He anticipates that the deployment of hundreds of new telecom towers will significantly contribute to bridging the digital divide in Uganda.

European Investment Bank Vice President Thomas Östros reiterated the bank’s commitment to digital inclusion in Africa and praised TowerCo of Africa Uganda’s engagement in transforming rural connectivity. This collaboration exemplifies the shared commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of rural populations.

The project, supported by the ACP Trust Fund, will see TowerCo of Africa Uganda installing the new telecom towers over the next two years. It is expected to create 2,000 skilled and unskilled jobs for local communities during the construction phase.

The partnership between TowerCo of Africa Uganda and European financiers represents a significant stride in narrowing the digital divide, unlocking new opportunities for rural communities, and fostering sustainable development in Uganda. TowerCo of Africa Uganda looks forward to the positive impact of this collaboration, marking a step towards a connected and inclusive future.

Table: Financing Breakdown for Telecom Tower Expansion

Financier Amount (US$)
European Investment Bank 16 million
Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) 12 million
Belgian Investment Company 12 million

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