OCL Malawi (IFC-43723)

  • Malawi
Geographic location where the impacts of the investment may be experienced.
Financial Institutions
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
International, regional and national development finance institutions. Many of these banks have a public interest mission, such as poverty reduction.
Project Status
Stage of the project cycle. Stages vary by development bank and can include: pending, approval, implementation, and closed or completed.
Bank Risk Rating
Environmental and social categorization assessed by the development bank as a measure of the planned project’s environmental and social impacts. A higher risk rating may require more due diligence to limit or avoid harm to people and the environment. For example, "A" or "B" are risk categories where "A" represents the highest amount of risk. Results will include projects that specifically recorded a rating, all other projects are marked ‘U’ for "Undisclosed."
Voting Date
Feb 10, 2021
Date when project documentation and funding is reviewed by the Board for consideration and approval. Some development banks will state a "board date" or "decision date." When funding approval is obtained, the legal documents are accepted and signed, the implementation phase begins.
A public entity (government or state-owned) provided with funds or financial support to manage and/or implement a project.
  • Communications
The service or industry focus of the investment. A project can have several sectors.
Investment Type(s)
The categories of the bank investment: loan, grant, guarantee, technical assistance, advisory services, equity and fund.
Investment Amount (USD)
$ 10.00 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, this amount is converted to USD ($) on the date of disclosure. Please review updated project documents for more information.
Project Cost (USD)
$ 27.40 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, this amount is converted to USD ($) on the date of disclosure. Please review updated project documents for more information.
Primary Source

Original disclosure @ IFC website

Updated in EWS Feb 23, 2021

Disclosed by Bank Jan 11, 2021

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Project Description
If provided by the financial institution, the Early Warning System Team writes a short summary describing the purported development objective of the project and project components. Review the complete project documentation for a detailed description.

According to bank provided information, Open Connect Limited (“OCL” or the “Company”) is the leading provider of carrier services to telecom operators in Malawi.  Having recently been unbundled from Malawi Telecommunications Limited (“MTL”) and privatized through a competitive tender process, OCL now requires debt funding to complement equity investments from its new investors, for its capital expenditure program for the next two years.  Specifically, IFC’s funding will be used to (i) deploy fiber for providing fiber to the Business, Home and Tower (“FTTx”) services within Malawi, (ii) build a Tier III data centre, (iii) acquire international internet capacity for domestic distribution, and (iv) fund working capital. 

To support the planned growth, IFC intends to provide (i) an A Loan of up to US$10 million equivalent in local currency (Kwacha); and (ii) an IDA-PSW Blended Finance Subordinated Loan of up to US$10 million. The IFC investment will be used to (i) build the FTTX business to initially service approximately 13,000 homes and 7,000 businesses in targeted clusters in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba cities; (ii) build a 100 rack Tier III data center in Lilongwe, and (iii) fund working capital and reserve accounts (the “Project”). The projects of the data center and the deployment of the cables for FTTX are in their initial stages and no contractors have been selected.

Investment Description
Here you can find a list of individual development financial institutions that finance the project.

The Total Project Cost is expected to be c. USD 27.4 million. IFC is looking to provide an own account A Loan of up to USD 10 million in Malawian Kwacha (“MWK”). The financing package will also include support from the IDA19 IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window Local Currency Facility (“IDA-PSW LCF”) and Blended Finance Facility (“IDA-PSW BFF”). The remainder of the financing will be funded by equity.

Private Actors Description
A Private Actor is a non-governmental body or entity that is the borrower or client of a development project, which can include corporations, private equity and banks. This describes the private actors and their roles in relation to the project, when private actor information is disclosed or has been further researched.

Open Connect Limited (“OCL” or the “Company”), was established as part of the restructuring of Malawi Telecom Limited (MTL) in 2016 and privatized through a competitive bidding process. OCL is licensed by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority to provide physical telecommunication infrastructure used principally for, or in connection with, the provision of network and services. OCL is the leading provider of lit and dark fiber services to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and terrestrial Television (TV) broadcasters in Malawi.

Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund II (PAIDF II), a fund managed by Harith General Partners, was the preferred bidder for the acquisition of a 60% stake as part of a competitive tender process organized by Ernst and Young. Other shareholders of OCL are the Press Corporation Limited (22%), Old Mutual Malawi (15%), the Malawian Government (2%), NICO Holdings (1%) and Investments Alliance (0.2%).  Since the acquisition by PAIDF II, the Company has benefited from significant capital injection for network upgrades and fiber deployment as well as increased company efficiencies and quality of services provided by the Company.

OCL owns and operates the largest fiber network in the country, nearing 3,800 km, which covers all four regions of Malawi. Since the country is landlocked, the network connects internationally via Mozambique and Tanzania, with a direct connection to two submarine cables – SEACOM and EASSy Cable. The Company provides lit and dark fiber services to Mobile Network Operators, Internet Service Provider and terrestrial TV broadcasters in Malawi. With the new financing package, the Company intends to move facilitate the creation of wholesale services for the consumer market as well as for businesses and telecom towers requiring fiber connectivity. The Company will also run Malawi’s first independent Tier III data center in Malawi, which will be purpose-built for infrastructure sharing. Further, to reduce the cost of broadband in Malawi, the Company will acquire international wholesale capacity for distribution in Malawi.

Private Actor 1 Private Actor 1 Role Private Actor 1 Sector Relation Private Actor 2 Private Actor 2 Role Private Actor 2 Sector
- - - - Open Connect Limited Client -

Contact Information
This section aims to support the local communities and local CSO to get to know which stakeholders are involved in a project with their roles and responsibilities. If available, there may be a complaint office for the respective bank which operates independently to receive and determine violations in policy and practice. Independent Accountability Mechanisms receive and respond to complaints. Most Independent Accountability Mechanisms offer two functions for addressing complaints: dispute resolution and compliance review.

Open Connect Limited
Chukambiri Nchilamwela
Chief Technical Officer
Open Connect Limited, Head Office, Old Air Malawi Complex, Robins Rd, Blantyre, PO Box 31001


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