By Foday Moriba Conteh
During a snap visit on Wednesday 27th July 2022 at Africell Data Center on Lumley Beach Road in Freetown, the Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation, (DFC), Scott Nathan commended Africell Sierra Leone for its contribution to economic growth and social development in the country.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, Shadi Gerjawi, explained that the facility symbolizes Africell’s position at the forefront of telecommunications trends in Africa.
He pointed out that as part of their efforts in hosting third-party infrastructure and data, providing large storage capacity for disaster recovery, and redundancy for Government, Non-Governmental Organizations as well as for private entities requiring such services in the country, the company with support from the United States of America, turned the sod for the construction of the first Manor River Union State-of-the-Art Data Centre in Freetown.
He further noted that Africell is currently strengthening its network coverage in the country through investment in new sites, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas.
Gerjawi concluded by arguing that societies and economies are becoming increasingly smart, mobile, digital, and highlighted the vital importance of Data Centres in that context.
In his response, the Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation, Scott Nathan commended Africell Sierra Leone for its contribution to economic growth and social development in the country through telecommunications.
He revealed that he and his colleagues at the DFC were impressed to see such significant investment, admiring Africell’s innovative team and clear strategy.
The DFC is Africell Group’ biggest external financier and Nathan said that Africell’s progress in Sierra Leone and elsewhere counted as a real “success story” in DFC’s mission to create economic growth in developing markets by encouraging private sector investment.
CEO Scot Nathan discussed the importance of telecommunications to West Africa’s economic growth as well as highlighting the telecommunications service provider’s work in reducing the “digital divide” in Sierra Leone and the wider region.
In an interview with AfriRadio, he outlined DFC’s objectives and explained why the institution’s partnership with Africell is delivering benefits in Sierra Leone and beyond.
According to Scott Nathan, all around the world, including in West Africa, telecommunications is vital for closing the “digital divide”. He furthered that having reliable access to the internet is key to economic growth in the twenty-first century adding how telecommunications is a critical piece of economic infrastructure and to have a company like Africell pushing it in Sierra Leone, while also being socially responsible and playing an important role in the community, is very valuable.
He disclosed that the US Government wants development impact to align with economic growth and the DFC helps achieve that through initiatives in healthcare, climate-friendly energy solutions, digital technologies, and more.
“We are always looking to add our financial support to elements of the economy that boost economic growth,” he revealed adding that economic growth leads to opportunity, employment and stability, all of which are in everyone’s interests.
He informed of how they want the economy to grow and for Sierra Leoneans to have more jobs and opportunities maintaining that they prioritize private sector partners because they believe that unleashing the private sector will attract even more private capital, which is the most sustainable model for growth.
Nathan divulged that the DFC focuses on opportunities where there is a financing gap: situations where their involvement can provide a unique boost to private sector companies, entrepreneurs and those advancing financial inclusion.
“We are pleased to be in Sierra Leone to support Africell and other projects, and we will continue to explore opportunities to support economic growth here,” he assured.
He said Africell has an incredible team that is extremely innovative and with a plan.
“It is incredibly gratifying to see such a success story and I’m really pleased that US Government and DFC can be a part of the story through our financing relationship,” he concluded in an AfriRadio interview.