• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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IHS’ impact on Nigeria’s digital transformation, foreign direct investments drive

IHS Nigeria deploys 10,000kms fiber optic cables to drive broadband penetration

Proudly Nigerian Campaign, a private sector initiative promoted by media entrepreneur Olorogun Elkanah Mowarin in 2017, was one of the popular efforts to elicit pride in resourceful Nigerians and made-in-Nigeria products and services. The central theme of the campaign was to project Nigeria and Nigerians as a brand by generating positive narratives about Nigeria and her people.

Today, IHS Nigeria is one notable corporate brand that wears the Nigerian emblem with a gait and a commitment to promote Nigeria as a good brand, despite some challenges the country faces.

Last October, President Bola Tinubu played host to a team of senior management of IHS Nigeria in New York, United States, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. During the meeting, the Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Human Resources Officer, Ayotade Oyinlola, listed the company’s giant strides, including its consistent investments in state-of-the-art communication infrastructure and world-class services that have put Nigeria on a very strong footing in the global telecommunication market.

Read also: IHS Nigeria deploys 10,000kms fiber optic cables to drive broadband penetration

Oyinlola said at the time that 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 was established in Nigeria in a little over two decades (2001) has grown to become a reckonable multinational telecom infrastructure powerhouse, with footprints in 11 countries across three continents and impacting the lives of over 800 million people.

The team asserted that the company, despite having an expansive global footprint, including a remarkable global tower count of over 40,000 towers across Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kuwait, Peru, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia, proudly maintains its Nigerian identity.

In May 2024, IHS Nigeria again proudly carried the Nigerian green-white-green flag to the 2024 Corporate Council on Africa’s 16th U.S.-Africa Business Summit, held at the prestigious Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA. The telecoms infrastructure company, both as a co-sponsor and participant at the strategic international summit, leveraged the platform to market Nigeria’s limitless opportunities.

The summit, a pivotal moment in the convergence of global leaders, industry titans, and visionary entrepreneurs seeking to unlock Africa’s digital potential and foster sustainable economic growth, was attended by prominent leaders from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), including Florie Liser, President, and John Olajide, Chairman, representing CCA, as well as members of a strong leadership team from IHS Nigeria, including IHS Nigeria’s Chief Operating Officer, Kazeem Oladepo, Dapo Otunla, Chief Corporate Services Officer, and Seye Dosunmu, Chief Financial Officer, respectively. Mohamad Darwish, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of IHS Towers and CEO of IHS Nigeria, serves as a notable board member on the Planning and Programmes Committee in CCA.

With the increasing influence and power of technology, a high-level dialogue titled “Unlocking Africa’s Digital Potential: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunities” opened the discourse, where IHS Nigeria showcased its pivotal role in charting a course for Africa’s digital transformation.

In highlighting the company’s commitment to bridging the digital divide and empowering communities across Africa, IHS Nigeria’s COO, Kazeem Oladepo, reeled out the company’s numerous interventions, including investments in school connectivity. He said IHS has unveiled ICT and digital infrastructures aimed at promoting Nigeria’s digital economy, which include the innovation hub at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, in collaboration with the Oyo state government. It also implemented a three-year partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy in support of the government’s Three Million Technical Talent (3MTT) Initiative.

Through its partnership with the Limitless Space Institute, a non-profit education and research organisation based in Houston, Texas, IHS Nigeria is broadening access to space education for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators in Nigeria. It also supports UNICEF Nigeria’s School-to-School Connectivity Project and has established notable partnerships with the END Fund, Save the Children, and USAID.

Through its subsidiary company, Global Independent Connect Limited (GICL), IHS has deployed over 13,000 km of fibre optics across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to deepen nationwide digital connectivity and broadband penetration. Today, over 3,000 towers have been connected on metro fibre across Nigeria to further increase connectivity and support Nigeria’s growing digital ecosystem. In its resolute commitment to increasing connectivity, especially across rural communities, the company launched a rural telephony solution in 2020. The exclusively solar-powered solution connects the most remote communities in Nigeria to essential 2G and 3G services. To date, 586 rural telephony sites have been established across 25 states, serving over two million Nigerians living in rural and underserved areas.

The session was moderated by Michelle Chivunga, Founder and CEO of Global Policy House. The dialogue brought together luminaries such as H.E. Mogweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of Botswana, and Hon. Nthomeng Majara, Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho, alongside Hon. Enoh T. Ebong, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and Dr. Thierry Wandji, President and CEO of Cybastion.

During the session on “Invest in Nigeria: Showcasing Investment Opportunities,’’ co-sponsored by IHS Nigeria and moderated by Ekenem Isichei, Programme Director at the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, led the voices that showcased Nigeria’s burgeoning investment opportunities. He was supported by Aisha Rimi, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), and industry stalwarts including John Olajide, Chairman of CCA and Founder/CEO, Axxess and Cavista Holdings. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who led the Federal Government delegation, affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations and strategic partnerships aimed at stimulating foreign direct investment inflow to Nigeria.

Oladepo, who represented IHS Nigeria at the session, underscored the company’s pivotal role in lowering barriers to entry for mobile network and internet service providers, catalysing infrastructure development, and fostering innovation hubs across Nigeria. He further shared IHS Towers’ illustrious journey from its inception in Lagos in 2001 to its becoming a global powerhouse with footprints in 11 markets across three continents. He also stated that the IHS was the first Nigerian-rooted company to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in 2021, showcasing the company’s role as a beacon of Nigerian achievement and a magnet for international investment.

At the closing plenary titled “Partnering to Accelerate Africa’s Industrialization,” IHS Nigeria reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to propelling sustainable industrial growth across the continent. Represented by Dapo Otunla, Chief Corporate Services Officer, IHS Nigeria, the company reiterated that it was dedicated to infrastructure investment, technology adoption, and collaborative partnerships as key drivers of Africa’s industrial revolution.

The plenary, moderated by Andrew Herscowitz, Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute North America, convened a diverse array of leaders from government, finance, and industry to explore viable pathways for Africa’s green industrialization. Also present in this discussion was Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President of Nigeria and Guardian of the Timbuktoo African Innovation Foundation, who highlighted the importance of innovation and technology in driving industrial growth.

Overall, IHS Nigeria’s good ambassadorial role at the summit underscored its belief in Nigeria, affirming its proactive role in shaping the future of African industrialization and aligning with its vision of fostering inclusive, sustainable development through technological innovation and strategic partnerships.

Blessed Omonose, a developmental journalist, writes from Lagos.