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West Indian Ocean Cable Company Secures $20 million IFC Loan for Increased Broadband Connectivity Across Africa

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a loan to the West Indian Ocean Cable Company Ltd (WIOCC) to help the telecoms infrastructure provider expand and improve affordable internet connectivity as it continues to serve over 30 countries in Africa.

The $20 million loan is part of IFC’s global $8 billion fast-track COVID-19 response facility, announced in March to help sustain economies and preserve jobs during the pandemic. IFC’s support will help WIOCC upgrade subsea capacity, including the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), and roll out terrestrial fiber optic networks across the region. EASSy is an undersea fiber optic cable system connecting countries in Eastern Africa to the rest of the world.

Pursuing our expansion will allow our company to leverage the opportunities created by the increasing demand for online services during the present crisis. It is also a demonstration of our dynamic partnership with IFC.

Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO

According to a report by IFC, only about 22 percent of Africa’s population has access to an internet connection, the lowest of any region in the world. The African Union, with support from the World Bank Group, has set the goal of connecting every individual, business, and government on the continent by 2030. IFC’s partnership with WIOCC is a step toward helping address the connectivity gap in Africa.

IFC’s partnership with WIOCC will help increase internet access across Africa, improving lives and allowing businesses to create and sustain potentially millions of jobs. With COVID-19 disrupting trade and business activity in an unprecedented fashion, building a strong internet infrastructure in Africa is more important than ever.

Linda Munyengeterwa, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa

WIOCC, a private company jointly owned by 14 African telecommunication operators, makes strategic investments in digital infrastructure to support reliable and scalable connectivity in Africa. WIOCC will be making additional investments in digital infrastructure in the immediate term in light of increased demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Safaricom Provides Communication Support To Kenyan Healthcare Workers And The Ministry Of Health

Following a request by Cabinet Secretary of Health, Mutahi Kagwe, for communication support for the pandemic response teams, Safaricom PLC has agreed to provide communication resources equivalent to 195 terabytes of data, 10 million voice call minutes and 33 million SMSs to critical Government healthcare workers for the next three months.

The initiative, which is part of Safaricom’s commitment to keep the country connected during this period, will see the company avail connectivity resources and airtime to the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and frontline healthcare workers both at National and County level.

 These resources include:

  1. Monthly Bundle for Frontline Government Healthcare Workers: A monthly bundle consisting of 12GB data + 600 voice call minutes + 2,000 SMSs per month topped up to the individual lines of the COVID-19 frontline workers as identified by the Ministry of Health.
  2. 100 Mbps Internet Connectivity at Afya House for the National Command and Control Centre in this fight to safeguard our health.
  3. COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Airtime Support: A one-off bundle consisting of 50GB data + 3,500 voice call minutes + 10,000 SMSs to 15 members to assist in the smooth running of the fund activities.

As we face this crisis, seamless worry-free communication between the frontline teams, the Command Centre and their loved ones is crucial. The contribution by Safaricom to support over 5,500 Government healthcare workers will go a long way in helping us execute a coordinated national response.

Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health

The gallant frontline healthcare workers are our first line of defence against the pandemic and their dedication to serving the country has helped slow down infections within our communities. We not only want to appreciate the great work they are doing, but also facilitate their communication as they continue discharging their duties.

Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer

This commitment adds to our ongoing initiatives, currently valued at KES 6.5 billion, to support our customers and the country from the negative impact of the pandemic through interventions in financial services, transport, education and healthcare.

 We are cognizant of the challenge ahead of us and our purpose as an organisation is clear, to keep our customers connected and support Kenyans in whatever way we can.

Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].