IHS Towers, one of the largest owners, operators and developers of shared communications infrastructure around the world, says its operations have earned Nigeria a strong foothold in the global telecommunications market.
The company made the assertion after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in New York recently.
Ayotade Oyinlola, executive vice president and chief HR officer, IHS Towers, said the company’s story epitomises the potential of Nigerian companies on the global stage. He noted that the company maintains its Nigerian identity despite its expansive global footprint, which includes a global tower count of nearly 40,000 across Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroun, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Peru, Rwanda, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and Zambia.
“In an era where connectivity serves as the lifeblood of societies and economies, IHS Towers stands as a beacon of success, demonstrating how a company that started in Nigeria can expand to become a global powerhouse. In a little over two decades, IHS has evolved into a multinational telecom infrastructure giant with operations in 11 countries across three continents and impacting the lives of over 750 million people,” Oyinlola said.
Oyinlola noted various other contributions the company was making towards the growth and development of the country. Some of these contributions include being part of the telecommunications sector’s 16.06 percent contribution to the country’s GDP, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics; job creation including over 1,100 direct employees and an additional 40,000 indirect employees, including contractors spanning diverse sectors like power/energy utility, logistics, real estate, oil and gas, civil engineering, and core telecommunications in Nigeria.
He said the IHS Towers’ Mission T project has provided digital learning opportunities to over 550,000 students, equipping them with essential digital skills for the future.
Oyinlola said the company also collaborated with UNICEF on the School Connectivity project, which has impacted the lives of about 70,000 Nigerian students across 187 schools in 15 states.
He said the company has also been at the forefront of advocating for sustainable, green energy solutions. Accordingly, in 2022 alone, the company dedicated a substantial investment of over $100 million to its Project Green initiative. “This initiative is geared towards reducing carbon emissions across IHS Towers’ extensive network of over 16,000 sites in Nigeria by a commendable 50 percent by the year 2030”.
Colby Synesael, executive vice president, communication at IHS Towers, said the company has been playing the role of a global corporate ambassador building investor confidence internationally. Accordingly, he said the company has made significant bedrock within the telecommunications value chain, including lowering entry barriers and enhancing cost-effectiveness for telecommunications stakeholders.
“As the fifth-largest independent multinational tower company globally in terms of tower count, IHS exemplifies efficiency and scale. The company made history by becoming the first Nigerian-rooted company to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2021, which symbolizes Nigeria’s immense potential on the world stage, fostering global investor engagement, and playing a significant role in educating international investors on the advantages of investing in Nigeria,” Synesael said.
According to him, these giant strides have led to a diverse portfolio of services that includes optic fibre connectivity, rural telephony, and cutting-edge solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Data Centre thereby bridging the digital divide and ensuring connectivity for all.
“IHS’s substantial investments in passive infrastructure, including leasing tower space to providers, such as mobile network operators and internet service providers, has effectively lowered entry barriers and enhanced cost-effectiveness, enabling these providers to expand their operations. Also, with the ownership of over 16,000 towers in Nigeria and the deployment of 6,500 kilometres of metro optic fibre across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), IHS has facilitated the expansion of telecom services, ensuring that more Nigerians have access to connectivity than ever before,” Synesael said.