Solar-powered rural telephony in Nigeria gets USTDA support

A US Trade and Development Agency-funded feasibility study for Nigeria’s Hotspot Network Limited has led to the issuance of financing for the deployment of 120 solar-powered rural telecommunications base stations across 22 states in Nigeria.

USTDA’s focus is the export of US goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies. In this case the project will utilize renewable energy to provide last-mile mobile connectivity to underserved rural communities that lack the requisite power infrastructure for reliable telecommunications.

Hotspot is a telecommunication infrastructure and solar-powered rural telephony network provider, using renewable energy and climate-smart technology in operating telecom sites in off-grid rural parts of Nigeria.

Co-financing the project are Nigeria’s Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company (InfraCredit) and the Climate Finance Blending Facility, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This co-financing attracted matching investments from nine Nigerian institutional investors.

USTDA’s feasibility study, announced in 2021, assessed Nigeria’s rural telephony market, defined the project’s technology, cost and revenue options, and recommended financing and implementation plans.

USTDA’s support for this activity results from a memorandum of understanding (MoU), also in 2021, with InfraCredit to jointly identify infrastructure projects in Nigeria that could benefit from project preparation funding and subsequent credit enhancements. The sectors of cooperation highlighted in the MoU include clean energy, information and communications technology, transportation, agribusiness and healthcare infrastructure.