As part of the G7-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), USAID has announced four new public-private partnerships under the Digital Invest program to support digital connectivity infrastructure and digital financial services that strengthen open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems in emerging markets.
Digital Invest is a blended-finance program that supports fund managers, project developers, and other private sector partners seeking to accelerate sustainable market growth for internet service providers (ISPs) and financial technology companies (fintechs) that reduce the digital divide by serving traditionally excluded communities in developing markets. The program is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership and implemented by USAID in alignment with the Agency’s Digital Strategy.
Digital Invest was announced by President Biden in June 2022 as a flagship program under PGII. USAID is leveraging an initial $6.45 million in U.S. government funding to support Digital Invest partners in mobilizing an estimated $455 million in investment capital. To date, Digital Invest partners have mobilized over $135 million for new or expanded facilities and have invested in 35 portfolio companies across 27 countries.
This year, USAID will launch the following new partnerships, expanding and diversifying the Digital Invest portfolio with new, innovative approaches to support digital infrastructure and service providers in developing markets:
- CSquared, an Africa-based technology company focused on broadband enabling infrastructure, is establishing a 350-kilometer open-access fiber backbone network in Liberia to provide transformative network capacity to ISPs and mobile network operators. As a result, this will bring quality internet access to as many as one million people in Liberia.
- Microsoft Airband is supporting the development and launch of a global incentive fund, managed by Resonance, for ISPs providing digital access to community institutions such as health clinics, schools, and local government facilities.
- Modus Capital is launching a venture-builder program for early-stage financial technology companies that improve financial well-being across underserved populations in Egypt, building off the infrastructure and best practices of Modus’ venture platform, comprising venture capital funds, venture builders, and a corporate innovation arm.
- SIMA Funds, an impact investment firm, is launching a new crowdfunding platform, Sow Good Investments, that will catalyze U.S. retail investments into fintech-enabled microfinance institutions and pay-as-you-go solar financing and distribution companies operating across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.