With a young, growing population and strong GDP expansion forecast, Africa and the Middle East share an acute need for mobile communications. The organic and inorganic growth opportunities for Helios Towers are considerable.
Africa: the great growth story
The vast continent of Africa is one of the most exciting places for telecommunications growth in the world, underpinned by strong macroeconomic tailwinds. Over the next five years, the continent is expected to see some of the fastest growth globally, with the region forecast to deliver five of the top ten fastest-growing economies and nine of the top ten fastest-growing cities. Indeed, the United Nations (‘UN’) forecasts that Africa alone will account for almost 60% of the two billion people added to the global population by 2050. The continent’s population will almost double during this period. Drill down, and you find that more than 67% of Africa’s population is under 30 and it is the young who drive the demand for mobile. And yet, mobile penetration in Africa is still low: less than half the population uses mobile. And of all mobile users, only 20% are experiencing 4G, but excitingly, demand is growing rapidly.
The Middle East: a significant opportunity
The Middle East mirrors many of Africa’s attractive characteristics. It has a rapidly growing population, forecast to see 39% growth from its current 257 million to 357 million by 2050. Mobile penetration, although higher than Africa at 66%, remains below developed markets, such as the US at 85%. Additionally, data usage is expected to grow substantially with 4G and 5G subscriptions expected to increase by 80% between 2021-26
In addition, there is a significant inorganic opportunity. Approximately 85% of the Middle East’s towers are still owned by the region’s MNOs.
Significant inorganic opportunity
MNOs are increasingly looking to divest their owned tower networks, to concentrate on their core business and release capital for investment in active infrastructure. MNOs still own 76% of all towers across Africa and the Middle East, compared to c.30% ownership globally.
Additional mobile connections (2021-2026)
Forecast new PoS requirement (2021-2026)