The Development Bank of Angola (BDA) has signed $109.7 million loan agreements with Japanese firms as part of a deal that looks set to make the oil-rich African nation one of the main telecommunication hubs on the continent.
The agreement, which is backed by a sovereign guarantee from the Angolan government, is a two-stage loan from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) to finance the first step of the construction of the South Atlantic Cable System (Sacs).
The second phase of the loan, subject of another agreement signed between BDA and project owner Angola Cables, a public-private partnership whose shareholders include Isabel dos Santos’ Unitel telecom company and the state-owned Angola Telecom.
With installation expected to take 21-24 months, these two agreements bring the 6 200 km-long optical cable system with a capacity of 40 terabytes of data transfer per second another step closer to being a reality.
“We are going to take advantage of this infrastructure to provide services to other countries in South America, Europe and Africa as it is going to be available to operators,” Angola’s telecommunication minister Jose Carvalho da Rocha told reporters in the Angolan .
Angola is looking at expanding its export offering, which is currently dominated by oil and diamonds, amid a huge foreign currency crisis mainly due to low commodity prices.