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IFC Invests in IHS Africa to Expand Access to Telecommunications in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lagos/Washington, DC, February 22, 2011 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, along with co-investors Investec and FMO, today announced a $79 million equity investment in IHS Africa PLC to help the company build and acquire mobile phone towers in sub-Saharan Africa, increasing mobile phone coverage and reducing communications costs in the region.
IHS is the largest telecommunications infrastructure provider in West Africa with more than 2,700 towers under management. It is expanding its ownership and leasing operations throughout Africa.  The company owns, manages and leases space on its mobile towers to telecom companies, helping to bring down costs, expand coverage, accelerate technology rollouts and improve the quality of service for subscribers in Africa.
IHS Executive Director, Issam Darwish, said, “IHS is dedicated to partnering with operators and investors across the African continent. IFC, Investec and FMO are all investors that understand the unique needs of the growing telecoms sector and the changing competitive landscape.”
“Broadening access to affordable mobile telecommunications services remains a crucial part of development across Africa,” said Bernard Sheahan, IFC Director of Infrastructure & Natural Resources for Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. “With this investment in IHS, IFC is continuing its commitment to further lowering the barriers to accessing the knowledge, innovation, and improved government and business services that mobile communications can bring.”
By owning and operating the communications towers, IHS can increase the efficiency and quality of existing networks while helping operators accelerate network expansion into rural areas.  IHS is currently working with many of the region’s leading operators to upgrade existing tower sites and facilitate the roll-out of new technologies, including 3G and WiMax.  
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit .