Today, fund manager XSML announced its first investment in the Central African Republic (CAR) through its Central Africa SME Fund. The investment in Millenium Telecom, an Internet Service Provider, will offer reliable and affordable high speed internet access to individuals and businesses in the CAR.
Bangui, Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is landlocked in the heart of Africa. Internet penetration is very low with less than 1% of the population having access to the worldwide web. Millenium will be the first mobile broadband operator in CAR. In the first phase, the company targets 1,000 subscribers in the capital Bangui with subsequent phases expanding the subscriber database to 10,000 consumers, small businesses and corporate users throughout greater Bangui. Millenium uses a cutting-edge 4G WiMax solution provided by Airspan Networks in the US. The network, operating in the 2.5 GHz band, allows never-before delivered internet speeds enabling hotels/restaurants to set up Wi-Fi facilities. Internet will become accessible to the population by the introduction of pre-paid internet scratch cards, which helps individuals to get online with just a USD dongle connected to a computer or through PDAs. In addition, Millenium will make it possible to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) system, vastly improving communication for the public and private sector with offices in remote areas of the country.
Jarl Heijstee, Managing Partner at XSML said, “Our investment will vastly improve internet access in the country and will make it possible for both individuals and the public and private sector to have a reliable and fast internet connection. In addition, it demonstrates that the country offers many possibilities for the private sector and that the business climate is improving.”
Souleymane Diallo, CEO of Millenium states, “We are extremely proud to be the first 4G network provider in CAR and the first investment of the Central Africa SME Fund in the country. Today, good and reliable Internet access is crucial for country development, and our initiative will help reduce the digital divide”. CASF is an investment fund investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The fund believes in achieving sustainable economic development by encouraging entrepreneurship in the fast growing markets of DRC and CAR. Currently, many opportunities in these countries remain unexploited due to the lack of risk capital and support. The multiplier impact of such entrepreneurial endeavours creates jobs and income. CASF is a USD 25m fund (target) with 80% allocation to DRC and 20% in CAR. CASF will provide risk capital with an investment size ranging from USD 100,000 to a maximum of USD 500,000.
XSML is an independent private equity fund manager with a strategic focus on emerging markets. As an architect, building new funds and local fund managers in frontier markets, XSML, eXtra Small Medium Large, aims to grow small businesses into medium and large enterprises. XSML was founded in 2008. The managing partners have an extensive background in emerging markets in the areas of asset management, corporate and development banking and corporate restructuring. Our experience have shown that demand for finance from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) remains largely untapped despite increased interest in emerging markets from international investors. XSML bridges this gap between the international investors and the SMEs in emerging markets.
About Millenium Telecom
Millenium Telecom Centrafrique is the first mobile broadband operator in Central Africa Republic (CAR), focusing on providing wireless, reliable and affordable high-speed Internet access to individuals and businesses, helping to reduce the digital divide. Millenium Telecom Centrafrique was founded in April 2011 by Souleymane Diallo, a seasoned telecom professional with over 15 years’ experience whose held senior management and marketing positions in various multinational companies in Africa. Just before founding Millenium Telecom Centrafrique, Souleymane Diallo was the CEO of a leading mobile operator in CAR, and is a distinguished member of the business community.