23 June 2017
Senegal’s Authority of Regulation of Telecommunications and Posts (L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes, ARTP) has reportedly granted three MVNO licences, following its public call for applications on 12 April 2017. Local media sources have indicated that the successful licensees are You Mobile, which is owned by international music star Youssou N’dour; Origines SA, which is backed by fellow musician El Hadj Ndiaye; and Sirius Africa, owned by Mbackiyou Faye. An unverified report from Leral.net claims that Lycamobile Group – registered as Lycamobile Senegal on 23 May – failed to fulfil local ownership criteria, and was forced to go into partnership with Senegalese firm Wotel in an attempt to secure a licence; this bid proved similarly unsuccessful.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s financial arm, has agreed to provide EUR24 million (USD26.8 million) to bankroll an Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) project to deploy 1,000 solar-powered mobile towers in remote rural areas of Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The funds will be drawn from the Impact Financing Envelope, which the EIB describes as being intended for initiatives with a high financial risk, but a higher potential impact for local populations. In a statement, the EIB noted that the AMN-led rollout ‘marks a significant step in improving the financial inclusion of people living in vulnerable and remote communities, with a particular focus on women, health and banking services,’ adding that 750 of the sites will be deployed in the North and South Kivu regions of DRC, ‘conflict-torn areas of the eastern DRC, where improved communications will increase security for remote and vulnerable villages there.’