British International Investment

IHS Zambia Ltd

Southern AfricaCommunications & IT services

IHS Zambia Limited is the sole and leading independent tower operator in Zambia – owning and operating over 1,700 telecommunications towers.

It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IHS Towers Group – the largest independent tower operator in Africa – which has a presence in Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Zambia.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

We have now exited this investment. This is what we achieved.

Achieved impact

The core of BII's Impact Thesis was to support IHS Zambia in upgrading, expanding, and maintaining its telecom tower network, including the addition of 3G and 4G technology to enable faster internet connectivity for both business and non-business users.

At the time of exit, the investment had demonstrated a significant impact on telecommunications in Zambia. The company has helped Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) establish 3G network significantly expanded access to data services, including in remote parts of the country. This laid a strong foundation for the evolution to 4G and 5G networks. As expected, IHS Zambia installed energy-efficient solar power sources to power its sites, thereby lowering the cost of operation. By 2024, IHS Zambia operated the majority of towers in the country.

Expected impact

In 2015, CDC invested $40 million in IHS Zambia, and a further $26 million in 2017. Our investment will support the development of telecommunications towers across the country to improve accessibility and reliability of coverage.

Telecomms towers in Africa are costly to run, given the need to provide power and security for sites which are spread across large but sometimes thinly populated areas.

Africa's mobile operators are exploring ways to reduce the costs required to maintain and improve their networks at a time when customers expect faster speeds over 3G and 4G services.

With this investment, IHS Zambia (and the wider IHS Group) will continue to invest in upgrading, expanding and maintaining its tower network, including adding 3G and 4G technology to enable faster internet connectivity for business and non-business users.

This investment will accelerate infrastructure sharing among operators and benefit customers in the form of more affordable tariffs and improved network coverage.

It also sends a strong signal to other investors that the country's economic development is moving in a positive direction.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    Southern Africa

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.


    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    Communications & IT services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Start date :
    July 2017
    End date :
    March 2021
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.


Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 01 $40m Southern Africa Communications & IT services October 2015 Exited

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