African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Adenia Partners and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) have partnered to invest $130m (€109.4m) in an African telecoms tower developer.

The trio of investors have provided the capital, for a majority stake in Eastcastle Infrastructure, to help support Eastcastle’s build-to-suit strategy, to develop new telecom towers initially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.

Eastcastle was established in 2020 by Peter Lewis and Pankaj Kulshrestha, the former CFO and COO respectively of Eaton Towers.

As part of the consortium’s investment, AIIM will initially have two representatives on the board of Eastcastle: Stumpf and Martin Edge, senior digital infrastructure advisor for AIIM. Adenia’s representatives will be Stephane Bacquaert and Charles Boatin.

Stumpf, investment director at AIIM, said: “Investment in Africa’s digital infrastructure is more important than ever to meet rising data demand and enable Africa’s digital economy.”

Stumpf said the internet economy has the potential to contribute nearly $180bn to Africa’s gross domestic product by 2025 and, as such, a core part of AIIM’s strategy is to invest in businesses that address digital infrastructure bottlenecks and enable efficiency through infrastructure sharing.

“We look forward to working closely with the Eastcastle team, which brings vast experience in the sector and comprehensive capabilities in the development and operation of tower portfolios in multiple markets.”

Bacquaert, a managing partner at African infrastructure-focused private equity fund manager Adenia Partners, said: “Eastcastle meets a clear need for additional towers as operators look to extend and upgrade their networks and boost their offering, with demand notably strong in Africa.

“Eastcastle will play a key role in filling infrastructure gaps, by helping networks provide coverage and services both more efficiently and over a wider area. We are pleased to partner with a deeply experienced, well-reputed and highly capable team to make this venture a success.”

Linda Munyengeterwa, IFC’s regional industry director for infrastructure, Middle East and Africa, said: “With almost half of the world’s population still unconnected, bridging the digital divide is a core priority for IFC. By supporting infrastructure sharing initiatives, we can help accelerate digital connectivity at a lower cost while enabling consumers to access quality services.

“This investment in Eastcastle is testimony to IFC’s commitment to strengthening digital infrastructure in Africa and contributing to inclusive economic growth. We are excited to join with the teams of Eastcastle, AIIM and Adenia, to work together on connecting the unconnected.”

Lewis, co-founder of Eastcastle added: “Following the success of Eaton Towers, Pankaj, myself and the team are excited by this opportunity to again be of service to our long-standing African Telecoms clients.

”We are especially pleased by the strong investor support received from some of the most experienced investors in African Towers and Infrastructure.”

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