IFC, British International Investment, Proparco partner to support Sonatel’s Telecoms expansion in Senegal

From left, Sékou Drame, CEO, Sonatel; Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Regional Vice President for Africa; Chris Chijiutomi, Managing Director and Head of Africa, BII
Friday, May 17, 2024 — To accelerate Senegal’s digital transformation, IFC and partners British International Investment (BII) and Proparco today announced a financing package for Sonatel to improve essential telecommunications infrastructure in the country and expand access to reliable, affordable mobile and fixed broadband services.

The local currency equivalent €87 million, sustainability-linked loan includes €32 million from IFC, €25 million from BII, and €30 million from Proparco. The funding will help Sonatel, the largest telecom operator in Senegal, expand its telecommunications infrastructure, including towers and cables, particularly in rural areas.

The financing will be the first sustainable linked facility (SLF) in francophone West Africa. It is designed to link the pricing of the loan to the achievement of measurable objectives, making a significant contribution to sustainable development.

The SLF sets out ambitious goals for Sonatel in two key areas: increasing the representation of women in management positions in Senegal and expanding the reach of digital skills programs implemented by Sonatel within the country.

Sekou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel, said, “I am thrilled to underscore the significance of our partnership with IFC, British International Investment, and Proparco. Together, we spearhead a transformative journey in Senegal, driving digital innovation and fostering technological advancements that will ultimately elevate our country’s digital landscape.”

Chris Chijiutomi, Managing Director, and Head of Africa at BII, said, “Investing in the digital infrastructure space is a priority for BII given its importance to address economic growth constraints in Africa. Our investment in Sonatel will help provide quality and affordable connectivity and directly foster inclusive economic growth, particularly in rural areas. It also aligns with our goal to invest more in the Francophone West Africa region. We look forward to working with our partners to connect more people and businesses in the area digitally.”

Françoise Lombard, CEO of Proparco, said, “We are thrilled to support Sonatel’s investments in Senegal’s digital infrastructure to improve the quality of service and expand the geographical reach of the digital network in the country. While improving customer experience, investments in innovative solutions should eventually boost economic opportunities in Senegal. We are also supportive of Sonatel’s commitment to provide ambitious training program targeting entrepreneurs and start-ups as well as to push for a higher representation of women in management positions.”

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Olivier Buyoya, IFC Regional Director for West Africa, said, “This partnership marks a significant milestone in Senegal’s digital development. Together with Sonatel, we are committed to delivering innovative and inclusive solutions that will have a lasting impact on Senegal’s economy and people. Our collective vision is to create a digitally enabled future where every individual has access to opportunities and resources, driving forward Senegal’s economic transformation and social progress.”

The project builds on an existing partnership between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Sonatel. It aligns with Senegal’s ambition to develop sustainable digital infrastructure to modernize its economy. BII is the development finance institution of the UK government. Proparco is a development finance institution and a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement Group.

IFC’s investment is supported by the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window Local Currency Facility, which helps provide longer-term, local currency funding for high-impact projects in IDA and fragile and conflict-affected situations where local currency solutions are underdeveloped or absent.

About IFC

IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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About the IDA Private Sector Window

The International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window was launched in 2017 to catalyze private sector investment in the poorest and most fragile countries. Recognizing the key role of the private sector in achieving IDA’s objectives and the World Bank Group’s twin goals, the window provides a source of co-investment funding and guarantees to de-risk private investments supported by IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IDA PSW is an option when there is no commercial solution, and the World Bank Group’s other tools and approaches are insufficient:



Sonatel Group provides global telecommunications solutions for individuals and businesses. The products and services offered cover areas such as fixed, mobile, internet, television, mobile data, mobile money, energy, and new related services. The diversity of its service and product offering, coupled with its dense geographical coverage, has enabled the Group to position itself as a key telecom player in the sub-region.

Listed on the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) since 1998, the Company has the largest capitalization with nearly XOF 1,798 billion, representing more than 20% of the BRVM’s market capitalization on 31 December 2023. On 31 December 2023, Sonatel had more than 41.1 million customers, sales of XOF 1.620 billion, EBITDAAL of XOF 747,5 billion, and net income of XOF 331.7 billion. Since its creation, the company has distinguished itself by its technological excellence, its ability to anticipate and adapt to changes in its sector, its appropriate investment policy, and its management, all in the pursuit of the best customer experience. The company has a robust business with a substantial level of recurring revenues while being diversified both geographically and in terms of business segments.

About British International Investment (BII)

British International Investment (BII) is the UK’s development finance institution and a trusted investment partner to businesses in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. It invests to create productive, sustainable, and inclusive economies in eligible markets. Between 2022 and 2026, at least 30 percent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance. The company has investments in over 1,470 businesses in emerging economies across 65 countries and total assets of £8.1 billion. For further information about BII and its impactful initiatives, please visit: www.bii.co.uk | watch here.

About Proparco

Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement Group, has been working with the private sector for over 45 years for a more just and sustainable world. With an international network of 23 local offices, Proparco works closely with its partners to build sustainable solutions in response to environmental and social challenges in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Proparco benefits from sector-based expertise as well as a wide range of financial solutions tailored to the different stages of business development, notably thanks to its Digital Africa subsidiary, and its Propulse technical assistance offering designed to scale up the impacts and performance of its partners. Proparco’s “Acting together for greater impact” Strategy 2023-2027 enables, strengthens, and amplifies the different ways in which it works with its partners.