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June 28, 2024

Finnfund invests in CREI to improve mobile connections in South Sudan

South Sudan has one of the lowest rates of mobile access and connectivity in the world. Finnfund provides a 5 million US dollar mezzanine loan to Communication & Renewable Energy Infrastructure (CREI) in order to facilitate installing, operating and maintaining 413 telecom site hybrid power solutions in South Sudan. The project will contribute to a significant increase in solar power production and a decrease in diesel usage. It is expected to benefit over 2 million people by enhancing the reliability of the connection in a country that has the world’s poorest mobile connection.

“I can’t think of a better project to kick off the Africa Connected program and Finnfund’s path as an implementing partner of the EFSD+ Guarantees”, says Valtter Louhivuori, Head of Finnfund’s Nairobi office. The Africa Connected program seeks to accelerate investments in impactful digital infrastructure and solutions companies in Africa. “Improved mobile connections contribute to economic growth and improve living standards and inclusivity through increased access to financial, education and healthcare services”, Louhivuori adds.

The financing package includes investments from The Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) and the asset management company of ieng Group, Communication & Renewable Energy Infrastructure (CREI) and will be used to finance CREI’s Telecom Energy Service Company in South Sudan. The financing will enable CREI to provide “energy as a service” to a telecom stakeholder in South Sudan by developing, building, operating, and maintaining energy assets.

“The Facility for Energy Inclusion continues to play a leading role in the TESCO sector in Africa where the Funds has been able to leverage its experience to provide a tailored and pragmatic financial solution to deliver this landmark transaction in South Sudan. This is a testimony of FEI and Cygnum Capital’s ability to support investment across frontier markets” said Carmen de Castro, Managing Director and FEI Fund Lead at Cygnum Capital.

“We are thrilled to join forces with FEI, and Finnfund in financing our TESCO project in South Sudan. This partnership aligns with our mission to lead the transition towards sustainable telecom and energy infrastructure across Africa and Asia; and achieve lasting positive impact. We are confident that our combined efforts will enable the telecom stakeholder to expand and contribute to the telecom sector development of South Sudan”, said Kadri El Hakim, CEO at CREI.

More information: Valtter Louhivuori, Head of Nairobi office,, tel. +254 757 248 789
Media contact: Valpuri Mäkinen, Communications and Marketing Manager,, tel. +358 50 384 2105

This investment is made with support from the European Union and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), one of the financing tools of Global Gateway, promoting sustainable investments in the EU’s partner countries. Finnfund has utilised an EFSD+ guarantee under the Africa Connected program, which supports investments into rural connectivity solutions, access to data, and digital solutions in sub-Saharan Africa.


Read more: EU and Finnfund launch the Africa Connected Programme to mobilise more than €1 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital infrastructure

About CREI
CREI is an established asset management company holding a portfolio of telecom towers and renewable power assets across Africa and Asia. Its main activities entail providing sustainable energy and connectivity to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and rural communities across developing countries. CREI capitalizes on the expertise and synergies created throughout its group of affiliated companies to provide a full service to Operators and Investors and deliver efficient solutions that are integrated along the value chain. CREI manages a portfolio of Telecom ESCO, TowerCo, and Network as a Service (NaaS) projects to help MNOs decrease their carbon footprint while improving their network performance and reach. CREI is part of a global telecom services group, Two Thirty Three Holding Group.

About Cygnum Capital
Cygnum Capital Group is an investment bank and asset manager, operating across frontier and emerging markets. Cygnum Capital Asset Management manages five pioneering funds: four debt funds including: (i) the African Local Currency Bond Fund (“ALCBF”), a ground-breaking investment vehicle established to support local currency capital markets, (ii) Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (“OGEF”) which supports companies in off-grid energy such as SHS and small- medium mini-grids, (iii) FEI which support companies that provide a range of renewable energy solutions such as medium-large mini- grids, C&I and IPP with a maximum capacity of 25 MW, and (iv) AfricaGoGreen Fund (“AGG”) which supports companies combating climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels through new technologies and that increase energy efficiency and promote economic development in high impact target sectors; and a VC private equity fund (v) E3 Low Carbon Economy Fund for Africa (“E3 LCEF”) which invests in climate-smart services, digital connectivity & applications, low-carbon productivity enablers. Cygnum Capital Asset Management has over USD830 million in assets under management with investments in 32 African countries.

About the Facility for Energy Inclusion
FEI is designed to support small-scale independent power producers delivering power to the grid, mini-grids, commercial and industrial and captive power projects. FEI was set up by the African Development Bank (“AfDB”) as part of its New Deal for Africa initiative. In addition to the investment by the AfDB, FEI received equity funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through KfW and Norfund and loan commitments from the Austrian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The AfDB also invested on behalf of the Clean Technology Fund and the European Commission. The transaction was supported by FEI’s Project Preparation Facility (“PPF”), funded by the Global Environment Facility, through the AfDB. The PPF provides returnable grant funding for last-mile processes crucial to closing transactions and to fund due diligence and preparatory costs incurred in establishing innovative structures or transactions that FEI seeks to lend to.

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