Wananchi gets Sh6b US loan to extend internet, TV services in East Africa
Posted Friday, June 22 2012 at 14:52
A Kenyan company has won US government approval for a $72 million (Sh6 billion) direct loan to extend high-speed internet service throughout East Africa.
Wananchi Group Holdings will use the capital to build out fibre-optic cable lines in Kenya to provide television programming and voice-over internet telephone services to unconnected segments of the population.
The Nairobi-based company will also offer pay TV via satellite to markets in Tanzania and Uganda and, through agents, to six other countries in the region.
The loan from the US government's Overseas Private Investment Corp (Opic), approved last week, is seen as an expression of confidence in Kenya's technology sector. It also sends a signal to US businesses about investment opportunities in East Africa.
“Delivering state-of-the art internet service and television programming with improved local content to urbanising East African markets at affordable prices is an important step forward for the region’s growing middle class,” Opic CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said.
“We are pleased by the opportunity to support a technological upgrade that provides so many developmental benefits across so many African markets.”
Opic is a US government finance institution focused on development projects.