Poa! Internet

Debt : May 2023

BIO has granted a EUR 3 M loan to Poa Internet, a low-cost internet service provider in Kenya.

Amount

€ 3,000,000.00

Type of investment

Debt

Development impacts

  • Private sector consolidation/innovation
  • Access to basic services & goods

Beneficiary locations

Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya

Investment field

Enterprises

Activity

J61.20 Wireless telecommunications activities

Organisation

Poa! Internet

Domicile

Kenya

More investments in

Poa! Internet

Poa Internet Kenya Ltd is a low-cost Internet service provider that develops and delivers unlimited, affordable internet to individuals, households and small businesses in underserved urban and peri-urban communities in Kenya. Poa offers broadband services and public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Today, the company serves ~30,000 residential clients via its 200 towers and is expected to scale across Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming five years. Poa uses well proven technology, augmented by proprietary software designed to address the deficiencies of the existing market and enable low cost and high-volume internet access to customers with homes located in areas that do not receive fibre.

Development impacts

  • Private sector consolidation/innovation

    Know-how and technology transfer
    Poa’s innovative technology allows low cost and high-volume internet access to customers located outside the footprint of traditional operators.

    Market structuring effects
    Poa provides a wireless-based fixed broadband service in areas where almost no fixed-line alternatives are available. Although cellular alternatives are available, they are expensive and offer limited volumes. Poa's KES 1,500 per month service has no limitations on volume and can be offered to multiple devices.
    To reach unserved areas and ensure a reliable connection, Poa builds and operates its own network. With the completion of this project, Poa will expand nationally and eventually aims at exporting its model internationally.

  • Access to basic services & goods

    Basic services and goods

    Poa caters to an unserved segment of the population. The company specifically builds its network into areas that are poorly served by other fixed line operators. Poa’s proprietary technology and business model allows them operate in these areas profitably whilst offering service at a fraction of the price of the competition. The effective price of 1 GB of data on Poa’s network costs 0.05% of GNI per capita compared to the national average of 2.62%. Providing affordable broadband is critical to improving educational outcomes, creating jobs, increasing social inclusivity in today’s digitally connected world.

E&S Impact

At the time of the investment, Poa had already defined an E&S action plan to tackle the main gaps that BIO identified during due diligence. Therefore, BIO decided to support this proactive approach and endorsed Poa’s own ESAP. This includes the formalisation of several policies and procedures, recruitment of an ESG officer, collection of KPI, HR and health and safety improvements, as well as measures towards contractors management, data protection and engagement with stakeholders and communities.

Situation at the time of investment

Proactively, Poa has leveraged on previous investments due diligence to start working on its E&S approach. This translated into the first formalisation of E&S policies and an open-minded reflection on its E&S practices.

Risk Category: B

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