Our Sustainable Business Strategy

Strong governance and ethics underpin the way we work and are the foundation of our Sustainable Business Strategy

Our strategy helps us to maximise the positive impact we create for our stakeholders and deliver on our purpose of driving the growth of mobile communications in Africa and the Middle East. Strong governance and ethical practices underpin the way we conduct business.

As an enabler of connectivity, our work uniquely contributes to all 17 SDGs. Through our Sustainable Business Strategy, we support a number of SDGs and make the greatest positive contribution to SDGs 8 and 9.

Our KPIs and targets

What we want to achieveKPI2021Future(1)
Customer service excellenceReliable mobile coverageDowntime per tower per week1:10< 30 seconds
People & Business ExcellenceDeveloping talent% Staff Lean Six Sigma trained31%70%
Gender diversity% Female staff24%30%
Local teams for local business% Local staff97%95-100%
Sustainable value creationEnabling connectivityTotal site10.5k22k by 2026
Climate actionCarbon emissions per tenant10.4 tCO2e2030 target: 46% reduction per tenant
Connecting the unconnectedRural sites3.3k sitesc.7k sites

(1) Unless otherwise stated, reflects our 2026 target.

Tackling the digital divide and connecting the unconnected

Enabling faster expansion of mobile coverage

Through expanding our tower infrastructure within and across markets, we are helping our MNO customers to increase and improve coverage in some of the world’s most remote regions. We have a target to grow our business to 22,000 towers by 2026.

We believe that this will result in 250 million people under the coverage footprint of our towers, compared to 139 million today, providing more people across the region with an improved, more reliable mobile network service.

To support MNOs and governments wanting to provide universal access and expand into rural areas, we provide more sustainable solutions that are more appropriate for rural coverage, particularly in off-grid areas.

HT: Enabling faster expansion of mobile coverage


Driving digital inclusion and socioeconomic development through our community engagement

In addition to providing access to a mobile network, we want to help our communities use mobile and mobile internet. Our community engagement focuses on:

  • Education, skills and digital inclusion: over half of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa are not using the mobile internet despite having coverage; with lack of digital literacy being a key barrier.
  • Access to power and amenities: less than half of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity and so have challenges charging their phones.


Safe, localised and diverse employment

Keeping our people and partners safe

Our approach to safety combines adherence to international safety standards with a culture of robust management and improvement. Through our safety framework, we aim to mitigate our greatest areas of risk, such as driving and working at height. Based on our ‘One Team, One Business’ ethos, we monitor and report on the safety and performance of our contracted partners as we do our own.

Building a diverse and inclusive business

We strive to create a diverse, inclusive and collaborative work environment in which all of our colleagues are equally supported to embody our corporate values of Integrity, Partnership and Excellence. While building a gender-diverse workforce is a challenge in our sector and in the markets that we operate in, we are committed to attracting and nurturing women in our teams. We have set a target for female representation in our workforce – 30% by 2026 and have a focus on supporting women through our community initiatives.

Find out more about our diverse, inclusive culture.

Investing in our people

To maximise the positive impact we have in our markets and to nurture local talent and skills, we focus on hiring and investing in the career progression of localised workforces in our operating markets. In 2021, we had 97% local workforce in our operating companies and we aim to maintain this at around 95–100% each year to 2026.

Lean Six Sigma is a renowned approach that helps businesses increase productivity, reduce inefficiencies, and improve the quality of output. Lean Six Sigma principles form the backbone of Business Excellence at Helios Towers. Putting in place a structured approach to problem-solving empowers colleagues in our markets to drive operational performance and improved customer service across the board.

We have set a commitment to take our workforce from 31% Lean Six Sigma trained today to 70% Lean Six Sigma trained by 2026, which will in turn drive further customer service excellence, including our target to hit 30 seconds downtime by 2026.


Climate action

While Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than one billion people, it contributes around 2% of total global CO2 emissions compared to Europe (8%) and the United States (15%). It’s also a region with some of the world’s lowest electrification rates – over half of the population does not have access to electricity. As many areas we serve have non-existent, limited or unreliable access to mains electricity, we rely on generators to guarantee power for our customers’ equipment on most of our sites, which in turn supports reliable mobile coverage.

However, despite the power and infrastructure challenges in our markets and the acute need for mobile infrastructure there, we are committed to significantly reducing our carbon intensity as we deliver the benefits of mobile connectivity.

In 2021, we set a target to reduce carbon emissions by 46% per tenant by 2030, compared to a 2020 baseline(1). We are initially focusing on Scope 1 and 2 emissions, where we can make the most material impact. Our 2030 target translates to maintaining absolute emissions at 2020 levels, despite significant and required growth in mobile infrastructure to improve network access to millions of people.

Our long-term ambition is to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2040. Our Carbon Reduction Roadmap details our actionable plan of activity and our Project 100: our pledge to invest US$100 million in cleaner, greener solutions to reduce carbon between 2022–2030.

(1) Our target covers Tanzania, DRC, Ghana, South Africa and Congo Brazzaville – the five markets where we were operational for the full year of 2020.