KAMPALA – US government through its development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has partnered with Africell Telecommunications company, granting it USD100M.
The funds will be used to support Africell to upgrade and expand mobile telecommunication networks in Africa.
Africell, in celebration, has on July 1, hosted a cocktail event to recognize the signing of this agreement with the OPIC under the theme, “Building the Community Together”.
The event was graced by US Ambassador, Deborah Malac, Board members from the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Uganda, Uganda Communications Commission representatives among others invited guests.
Mr. Zaid Daoud, the Africell CEO says technology transformation has greatly impacted on society and Africell has plans to drive growth beyond this transformation.
He says that this inspiration is drawn from Uganda Vision 2040 which he believes has new transformations and new challenges. “Challenges provide opportunities.”
The Africell CEO remarked that the telecom company is going to come down to communities not to talk about sim cards or connectivity but rather business opportunities, growth, security, cybersecurity.
“I want to take Africell into the business community which is beyond connectivity and traditional licensed services,” he added.
He noted that transformation is efficiency, “I want to take the organization, my partners and customers in the same way.
Zaid said Africell has worked with OPIC which provides investments into companies and governments around the world to develop in line with American value system.
He highlighted Africell has been working with OPIC adding that, “we will create sustainable growth with the American help.”
Deborah Malac the US ambassador to Uganda officiated the event remarking that telecommunication is essential to a country’s economic development and its competitiveness.
She revealed the 100M loan granted to Africell by OPIC noting that, “this is to support the tele-company extend the availability and quality of affordable telephone internet services across Africa.”
She also noted that the American market in Africa is still very poor and so the US government is pushing for business and trade opportunities between the US and African Countries like Uganda.
“The theme today speaks directly to USA government to have its investments and business created and form opportunities needed in Uganda to sustain its growth and support people meet their full potential to prosper,” she said.
The USA ambassador added that this partnership should yield, “mutual prosperity for both Uganda and USA.”
Deborah also said that the public sector is the true engine of growth. “With the capital impact private investment start in an economy, governments should get out of the way for these private entities to do business appropriately,” she added.
She added that there are many challenges, from taxes to poor government policies, that affect the operation of private companies and businesses in Uganda.
Deborah urged the government to create an environment that enables greater private sector activities. “Government should get out of the way, ultimately, to allow the private sector grow and drive economic prosperity and potential on sustainable basis.
She promised American investors that as the Ambassador, she is going to lobby and push for policy changes in Uganda.
AMCHAM President Mike Davis applauded Africell for sticking with US government even when the funding process takes long.
“I know it is a long journey which affects all your co-operation everywhere not just Uganda,” said Mike Davis AMCHAM president.
OPIC partnership is putting Africell in a position to scale up its four network businesses in the region.