Japanese Mutsui leads $120mn investment in Africa broadband

15 Sep 2015
Financial Nigeria

Summary

Mitsui is contributing the single largest investment of $50 million in the new investment in Afrimax.

President and CEO of Mitsui Corporation, Tatsuo Yasunaga

Tokyo, Japan-based Mitsui & Co. has led a consortium of investors to raise $120 million for investment in Afrimax Group, a high speed mobile data communication operator in multiple Sub-Saharan African countries.

Mitsui is contributing the single largest investment of $50 million in the new investment in Afrimax.

Currently less than 10% of mobile phone users in the region can access the Internet by broadband connection, on the other hand mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase rapidly, with a twenty-fold increase over the 2013 level predicted by 2019.

Mitsui is the first Japanese company to invest in an LTE business in Sub-Saharan Africa. Afrimax's state of the art LTE 4G mobile service will help spearhead the growth of high speed Internet access across Sub-Saharan Africa and meet the rapidly expanding demand for data communications in the region.

Afrimax was founded in 2011 by a group of mobile telephony entrepreneurs with extensive experience of creating and building telecommunications businesses in various parts of the world, including Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

In November 2014, Vodafone and Afrimax Group jointly announced a non-equity strategic framework agreement to cooperate and explore opportunities for Partner Market agreements in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

Under this framework agreement, Vodafone Uganda was launched in February of this year combining the deployment of new high speed 4G LTE networks with the use of existing infrastructure for 2G/3G services. Afrimax is now accelerating its expansion into other Sub-Saharan African countries.

Mitsui has been involved in LTE since 2013 through its investment in the Indonesian LTE service provider "PT Internux", a joint venture with the Lippo Group, a major Indonesian conglomerate. Through its involvement with Afrimax, Mitsui will contribute to the improvement of the information and communications technology environment in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that is expected to achieve sustained economic growth in the coming years. Mitsui's further involvement in the region alongside its existing business activities in social infrastructure and human networking, will, in addition, provide a platform for Mitsui to create a variety of new service businesses in Africa.

Mitsui's investment in Afrimax was developed under the new Business Innovation Project framework which was established by Mitsui in October 2012. The Business Innovation Project framework is designed to support new business endeavours which fit Mitsui's new regional strategies and new business focus areas, and which have the potential to generate excellent investor returns over the longer term.


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