President Bush announces new US$100 million fund for Telecoms, Media and Technology


President George W. Bush announced last week that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) would support five new private equity investment funds, with a combined target capitalization of $875 million, one of which will invest US$100 million in Telecoms, Media and Technology.

“Last year, we launched the Africa Financial Sector Initiative. As part of this effort, OPIC mobilized $750 million in investment capital for African businesses,” President Bush said in a speech on the eve of his February 15-21 trip to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia. “Today, I'm announcing that OPIC will support five new investment funds that will mobilize an additional $875 million, for a total of more than $1.6 billion in new capital.”

OPIC will contribute US$50 million to the new Africa Telecoms, Media and Technology Fund, with the remaining US$50 million coming from private sources.

The fund will invest in technology, media and communications companies, primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, and potentially in Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda. By building a state-of-the art broadband network in eastern Africa, the fund will offer improved TV and telecommunications products and services to consumers for lower prices. To do so, it will implement advanced technologies, such as fiber optic cable and wireless networks. Consequently, the fund will have strong multiplier and economic diversification effects, by providing local SMEs with lower telecommunications costs, better IT infrastructure, and new services that will improve their efficiency. The fund also plans to provide broadband service to rural communities that have poor coverage for phone, Internet and TV services.

OPIC selected as fund manager East Africa Capital Partners, a US company whose principals have participated in some of the largest telecommunications and media transactions in Europe over the past ten years.