MetroFibre Networx, a South African fiber network and broadband fiber provider, has secured R5 billion ($298 million) in debt funding from Africa’s largest lender Standard Bank Group as part of a strategic effort to expand its broadband infrastructure throughout South Africa.
The Gauteng-based fiber network operator, which owns and manages South Africa’s first globally compliant Carrier Ethernet 3.0 (CE 3.0) open access fiber network, is partly owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC), an investment unit founded by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.
The $298-million injection will be used to improve connectivity and provide quality services to customers in South Africa, Africa’s most industrialized economy, as the fiber network and broadband fiber provider continues to expand its reach to individuals and businesses in underserved communities.
Standard Bank disclosed in a statement seen by Billionaires.Africa that the debt funding will put MetroFibre on track to reach a further 500,000 residential homes in the country by 2025 as part of a move to strengthen its current base of more than 350 000 homes in six South African provinces.
According to Nishela Ramgoolam, an executive at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking, the financing agreement with MetroFibre emphasizes the importance of creating shared value as a business through digital inclusion.
“This timely agreement with a proudly South African digital infrastructure business contributes to our mission of driving positive, sustainable, and truly embedded technological growth across the continent, as well as developing digital innovations that matter,” she said.
Ramgoolam went on to say that Standard Bank’s decision to partner with MetroFibre aligns with the lender’s commitment to provide Internet access across the country, a move that is critical in closing the information gap in South Africa as the lender works to create opportunities for individuals to participate in the global village.
Motsepe, who owns ARC, a subsidiary of Ubuntu-Botho Investments (Pty) Limited, has an indirect stake in MetroFibre (UBI). In 2016, ARC purchased an 18.14-percent stake in the company.
His net worth has dropped from $3.3 billion at the start of the year to $2.6 billion at the time of writing. However, despite the multimillion-dollar loss, he remains Southern Africa’s wealthiest Black billionaire ahead of Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa.