At Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the corporate and investment banking arm of FirstRand Group of which First National Bank is a member, we are continually driving investment into enhancing the Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) infrastructure on the continent – in order to foster technological innovation and unlock economic growth in the geographies where we operate.
Technology and access to data have become critical pillars of economic growth. The COVID-19 pandemic exploded the digital landscape, and demand for data – at accessible prices – has increased. This has driven more demand for new data centres on the continent, tower transactions and unbundling from traditional network operators. Unsurprisingly, there is an influx of related technology investments coming into Africa.
From an RMB perspective, we have already built a strong track-record in several countries and have an appetite to partner as a trusted advisor to new players in the space. For example, we have seen a number of new players entering the South Africa market such as Vantage and Oracle, with private equity investors taking equity stakes in some of the mature SA data centre players like Teraco. Vantage Data Centres’ new 80MW campus in Johannesburg will be the largest carrier-neutral data centre in Africa once complete – more than doubling the current IT load capacity in Johannesburg, and will eventually comprise 60,000 square metres of data centre space.
In West Africa RMB in Nigeria acted as adviser, joint issuing house and bookrunner to MTN Nigeria on the series-one public offer for the sale of 575 million ordinary shares held in MTN Nigeria. With the public offer, MTN Nigeria aims to broaden its local subscriber base, consolidate on its effort to revolutionise telecoms and technology in Nigeria and provide an avenue for Nigerians to share in growth and value the business creates.
RMB also recently provided valuable advice in IHS Holding Limited’s successful share-listing by an Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2021. This was a ground-breaking opportunity for one of the largest independent Telco Tower owners, operators, and developers of shared telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.
Says Thobeka Tubela, Sector Head for TMT at RMB: “The bank is able to provide unique support and focus to the telecommunications, media and technology industry. We have highlighted the sector as a strategic area of interest, owing to its potential for positive impact and transformation.
“We have a strong balance sheet and desire to provide more support in this sector due to its transformational nature to drive sustainable economic growth and uplifting communities. With a big appetite for ESG-linked funding, project finance and corporate finance advisory across all verticals in the TMT sector, we look forward to becoming a trusted advisor to more clients on the continent,” adds Tubela.
Titus Nampala, Head of Africa Financial Institutions & Sovereigns at RMB concludes: “As a bank, we recognise that the African Development Bank Group aims to spur sustainable economic development and social progress across Africa. With a key focus on infrastructure development in the TMT space, we are supportive of AFDB’s goal to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation as well as foster innovation. We remain optimistic that through partnerships, smart thinking and commitment we can foster a culture of inclusive growth across the continent.”