U.S Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer hosted a specially convened meeting at the U.S Embassy in Freetown and it was disclosed during the meeting that mobile phone service provider – Africell, has secured a $100 million financing agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The money will be used to expand Africell’s operations in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.
OPIC is the U.S government agency that finances and supports investment by American businesses in emerging markets.
According to Ambassador Maria Brewer, this $100 million financing is part of the U.S Government’s commitment, which highlights the longstanding support of the USA to Sierra Leone across different sectors.
“The solid partnerships between the U.S. Embassy and the private sector, exemplified by this agreement with Africell, will lead to stronger relationships and fruitful development,” said Maria Brewer.
Speaking about the US $100 million investment, Mr. Ziad Dalloul, Founder and Chairman of Africell said that: “Africell is at the forefront of the evolving landscape of African communications, data and technology enabled services and together with OPIC and our other stakeholders we are continuously investing in new solutions which drive development and improve our customers’ experience. We are the leading telecommunications and data operator in Sierra Leone and we intend to sustain and enrich this leadership position with the support of the OPIC funding”.
Africell was established in 2001 and is one of the fastest-growing mobile telecommunications operators in Africa with a focus and skillset tailored for operations in frontier markets. Africell has established itself as the market leading operator in The Gambia and in Sierra Leone and is rapidly growing operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Today, Africell’s total number of active subscribers is approximately 14 million.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities.
OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfils its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity investment fund managers.
OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.