« back to news and media

The EAIF & IFC-backed FCTC Sonatel Asset Backed Security lists on West African regional stock exchange, boosting digital transformation

● The listing helps finance Sonatel’s expansion of digital services in the West African

● The landmark transaction transforms the digital economy through the creation of
online businesses and strengthens local capital markets

● EAIF committed XOF 23.5 billion (c. $39 million) and IFC committed XOF 25 billion
(c. $41 million) to the ABS bond issue in January 2024

Abidjan, May 23, 2024 – The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a Private
Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, and the International Finance Corporation
(IFC) has announced that the Fonds Commun de Titrisation de Créances (FCTC) Sonatel
bond – backed by the EAIF and IFC as anchor investors – has listed on the Bourse Régionale
des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s
(WAEMU) regional stock exchange.

The landmark transaction, which was officialised at a signing ceremony in Abidjan on
Wednesday 22 May, is a major step forward for Sonatel, a leading West African
telecommunications carrier with the largest network in Senegal. The proceeds of the listing
enable the company to secure liquidity in the secondary market – deepening local capital
markets, supporting the acquisition of a 5G licence, extending mobile and internet network
infrastructure, including subsea cables, and upgrading mobile money and data services in

The XOF 75 billion, receivables-backed, AAA local-rated bond was issued in January 2024,
with a XOF 23.5 billion (c.$39 million) commitment from the EAIF and a XOF 25 billion
(c.$41 million) commitment from the IFC, with the remaining amount successfully placed with
local and regional investors.

The listing demonstrates EAIF and IFC’s ability to catalyse local and regional investor
participation in telecommunications-linked corporate debt and in the local asset-backed
securities market, deepening the BRVM’s capacity to provide fundraising opportunities to
companies operating in the diverse region of 130 million people.

EAIF’s investment in the FCTC Sonatel 2023-2038 asset backed security follows a XOF 15
bn (c.$27 million) commitment to the telecommunications firm in 2020. The Fund acted as an
anchor investor for its XOF 100 billion (c.$180 million) inaugural corporate bond that was
used to upgrade 4G + networks in urban and rural areas in Senegal. The commitment forms
part of EAIF’s strategy to support digital transformation through cutting-edge infrastructure
that will encourage Africa’s entrepreneurs to expand services through disruptive and
impact-linked businesses.

Sonatel will use the proceeds to increase internet access in rural and underserved areas,
driving digital transformation through the creation of new jobs and the development of digital

According to 2024 data, multiple countries in West Africa are characterised by some of the
lowest internet penetration rates in Africa, with geographies such as Sierra Leone (30.4 per
cent), Guinea Bissau (31.6 per cent) and Mali (33.1 per cent) falling below 40 per cent
continent-wide average internet penetration in 2022. The need for strategic finance to fund
world-class telecommunications infrastructure is a crucial barrier to enhancing internet
access in Africa, prohibiting the development of a thriving digital economy by creating
tech-empowered business models such as e-commerce, digital financial services and
ride-sharing apps.

SGI Invictus Capital and KF Titrisation acted as arrangers in the transaction.
Folatomi Fayemi, Investment Specialist at Ninety One, the fund manager of the
Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, said: “Listing the bond on the regional exchange will
help Sonatel raise capital from a diverse pool of investors, supporting the company’s
ambitions to improve access to digital services in the West African region. Our latest
investment in Sonatel demonstrates our firm commitment to supporting businesses that
transform markets through investments in critical infrastructure, driving economic growth
through the creation of digital jobs and online businesses.”

Olivier Buyoya, IFC Regional Director for West Africa, said: “We take great pride in
witnessing the listing of the bond on the regional exchange, following our support for the
first-ever securitization in the telecoms sector in West Africa. This listing not only reflects our
commitment to the development and deepening of the regional capital market but also
underscores our dedication to supporting regional economic development and promoting
investment opportunities.”

Bineta Dior Beye, CFO of Sonatel, said: “We are confident that this transaction will
strengthen our leading position in the telecommunications market and enable us to continue
to provide superior services to our customers.”

Isaac Mbaye, CEO of Invictus Capital & Finance, on behalf of the Consortium (Invictus
Capital & Finance as the arranger of the bond and KF Titrisation as the Management
Company of Securitization funds), added: “As a market participant, one of its most important
roles is to increase the depth of the regional financial market by strengthening the secondary
market. The listing of these bonds fits into this framework by allowing investors to trade them
on the BRVM (WAMU regional stock exchange).”