Monday, February 15, 2010

IFC enhances Nigeria’s telecom with N22.7bn

The Washington-based member of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has approved the sum of $150 million (about N22.7 billion) as loan to enhance telecommunications access in the country, through Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN) Limited.

IFC said that this syndicate would improve access to quality, affordable telecommunications in the country.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online from IFC, quoted officials as saying that the initiative seeks to help HTN to increase its network to 2,000 shared tower communication sites nationwide and afford the Nigerian people the many benefits of improved communications.  

ITRealms Online recalled that last year, IFC’s support similar initiative with $100 million in September 2009.

The current $150 million investment includes $76 million in loans syndicated to the African Development Bank, FMO of the Netherlands, Germany’s DEG, and Proparco of France.

Also, this includes a $30 million loan to Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank and a $44 million loan from Cordiant Capital, the Emerging African Infrastructure Fund and Nedbank of South Africa.

HTN builds and maintains a network of telecommunications towers and leases space on these towers to wireless telecommunications services providers.

The increased coverage will help wireless operators roll out their services more economically and extension of affordable mobile services to semi-urban and rural areas.

Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has developed significantly in recent years, but the country’s 43 per cent teledensity indicates that growth potential remains.

With the expansion of the HTN network, operators will be able to outsource non-core activities and passive infrastructure, allowing them to focus on further developing their products and services.

IFC Director, Global Information and Communication Technologies, Mr. Mohsen Khalil, said that access to quality, affordable mobile telecommunications is essential to development, both in terms of its ability to ease basic communication needs and to increase access to knowledge and services.

“By promoting Nigeria’s access to mobile infrastructure through HTN’s network, IFC seeks to strengthen   the country’s efforts to better serve its consumers and businesses,” he said.

Noteworthy is that IFC is reputed international financial institution focusing on the private sector, which it described as the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D