Africa’s second-largest country has one of the continent’s lowest internet penetration rates. Less than one in five Congolese has internet access. Connecting a country the size of Western Europe to the internet, will boost economic growth.
Engineering company Geek is installing optical fibre cables for Liquid Telecom, Africa’s largest independent fibre and cloud operator. Geek is also well positioned to win many of the upcoming multimillion dollar tenders to roll out a substantial part of the 6,000 km in cables planned in the next few years in DRC, as these companies are building a pan-African network to connect West and East Africa.
In 2022, however, the company was almost forced to end its work for Liquid Telecom because it had to use its cashflow to prefinance the installation of the optical fibre. This jeopardised the company’s other business lines in installing solar energy, providing IT services and construction.
Local banks could only offer short-term loans that were not big enough to cover Geek’s financing needs. XSML stepped in to help finance the company’s future growth because we offer more flexible terms including larger long-term loans.
Strong local founder
Geek is a small and well organized company led by a strong local founder, who is committed to maintaining high ESG standards, including promoting women in senior management positions and paying medical care for its employees and their families.
Celebrating the company’s seventh anniversary in February 2023, founder and CEO Moïse Tshibangila, said: “We have never paid our staff late, nor our creditors or suppliers. We pay our taxes and look after the environment as best as we can.”
Since its start in 2016, the company has grown to 38 staff and created almost 1,700 temporary jobs in some of the most remote corners of DRC.
XSML has invested US$ 1.5 million in debt in Geek since 2022.