Following the decision of telecoms operator Barthi Airtel to sell its installed base of approximately 15,000 telecommunication towers across Africa, in September 2014 Eaton Towers Ltd (ETL) agreed to acquire over 3,500 of these towers in six African countries, including Niger. Barthi Airtel was formerly Niger's No. 1 mobile phone operator with over 50% of the market.
Proparco is helping to finance the transaction in Niger by granting a €26.5 million loan to local operator Eaton Towers Niger SA (ETNS). This company was created to acquire and operate the towers which may also be jointly leased to other mobile phone operators. ETNS is Niger's first and only telecoms tower operator.
Niger is one of the Sub-Saharan African countries where long-term financing is hardest to come by and this transaction contributes to Proparco's goal of supporting the private sector in the least developed and most vulnerable countries.