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Communication Networks & Infrastructure Security (1)



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Africa is growing…..

The continent’s rate of growth is projected at between 5 – 7 % over the next 3 years (World Bank). Compared to the sub- 3% rates of growth for Europe and North America (if you are to disregard recession rumours), and you can see that Africa is indeed growing.

With the increasing rate of development, both within individual countries and across the regions, there has been an increase in the exploitation, extraction and development of natural assets and resources. This has led to the consequent growth in creation and development of infrastructure, industries, factories, and the capital assets and inventory across the African landscape. The Chinese for example, has trade worth US$50 billion as of Africa. Much of this has been tied to infrastructure developments and investments.

The new investment and development ‘race’ for Africa by investors, extractive industries, speculators, joint ventures, Foreign countries et. al, has spawned a side-effect that has to be taken account of. With rapid growth and the creation of wealth and capital assets, there has been an increasing need for quality and comprehensive Communications and Security infrastructure . This is required to provide a capability to monitor, track and manage the increasingly critical additions to the natural, economic and infrastructural landscape that we now see within and about us.

Firstly, when you create infrastructure; roads, schools, bridges, industries, factories, dams, power stations, etc. you need to plan how to design, equip, supply (raw materials in the beginning; supplies after launch), manage and maintain these assets.

To plan, you need to communicate; to bring people, ideas, tasks, requirements, instructions and updates to their personnel and stakeholders that need to be aware, kept in the loop; instructed, updated.

Having planned (and hopefully been successful), you then need to manage.

You manage the infrastructure assets for much the same reasons as when you are planning, but with more of a focus on the need to report, monitor, update, pass instructions and updates on progress, utilisation, performance and the like to stakeholders and interested parties.

However, an key aspect of infrastructure implementation in Africa, especially when compared to comparative asset implementation in the first world, has to do with the need to manage assets and inventory over large distances, especially when considering distance from asset to manager and from source to consumer.

Hospitals, power stations, grid and distribution infrastructure, Mobile and public telecomms networks, switching and transmission assets, factories, industries, extractive, mining and agro-allied operations – all need to be managed.

Locally and often in a regional or centrally co-ordinated Command-and-Control model to bring about the necessary efficiencies (Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)) and Return on Investment (RoI) for their investors, stakeholders – hopefully resulting in improved, quality delivery of public services to the communities and peoples who are supposed to be receiving this benefit.

So there are two parts to this equation – firstly internal communications between the nodes of control and organisation within the entities and organisations that either own and/or maintain these infrastructure assets and inventory.

Then there are the external communications systems that provide communications between the infrastructure managers and the stakeholders interested in their delivery – government and their agencies, regulatory bodies, communities, etc.

How are these set up? What priority is given to the design, planning, implementation and, upon launch, maintenance and upgrade (yes, upgrade) of this vital resource to support the effective management of these vital assets towards meeting their key Priority objective – Delivery?

How well can we remotely monitor our often widely-dispersed (and not easily reachable) assets out there in the field? How effective are we in tracking their location (GPS), performance (IP, Data networks), maintenance requirements, (SCADA) etc.?

How well do we use networked communications – in a secure (can’t be hacked or intercepted), resilient (multiple levels of backup and transmission) and redundant (multiple, independent means of operation) manner to ensure that assets that have been developed and implemented at often high capital costs in terms of foreign-acquired currency, are being maintained and manage at an optimum level of performance and efficiency?

What priority is given to its budget, assessment, resilience, redundancy ..? Is a Single Point of Failure (SPOF); e.g. single power source; that goes, it all goes.

I know of an incident at a Petroleum Product Tank Farm facility where the single power/network resource ran for the entire plant and all assets on it; i.e. no resilience, no redundancy. As the fire took out the network, so went the firefighting capability at a stroke….

You can imagine what happened to the facility after that…

And as to the rebuilding/replacement costs (value of money/NPV) and the impact on supply of a critical commodity for economic development,….

And then, there’s the Security component… but that’s another article

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MTN Launches ‘Visitor SIM’, Designed for Guests Coming into the Country



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MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of its new Visitor SIM specially designed for guests travelling into the country.

The Visitor SIM comes pre-loaded with an appealing package that includes local and international call and data bundles.

This package will enable people visiting from other countries to stay connected with their friends, family and business associates on MTN’s super-fast network.

MTN VisitorSIMs are easy for inbound international visitors to acquire, activate and use, in addition to which they offer far better value than any roaming tariff.

Not available from any other operator, the service is poised to deliver convenience and the best-in-class customer experience in line with MTN’s brand promise.

According to Adekunle Adebiyi, chief sales and distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, “The new Visitor SIMs will ensure that before setting foot outside the airport, people visiting Nigeria can plug in, reconnect – to loved ones, associates, tools and information, and begin sharing their remarkable experiences, with no concern about roaming charges.”


MTN Visitor SIMs are available in the arrival halls of international airports and other ports of entry.

They are valid for 14 days, which can be extended up to 30 days via MTN’s self-service menus or USSD.

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Nigeria COVID-19 Response: UNICEF, IHS Nigeria Collaborate to Contribute Medical Supplies



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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received the delivery of 115,800 COVID-19 test kits to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. These supplies were funded by IHS Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Towers.

Testing remains the mainstay of the response led by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the first step towards diagnosing the infection. Tests enable health officials to understand the COVID-19 status of an individual and link that person to care, support and treatment while contributing to the protection of families and communities.

“Testing remains a core strategy of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19. This is critical for understanding the burden of the disease on our population and targeting our response activities accordingly. The primary goal of the Nigerian Government is to control the spread of this disease.

“This donation from IHS Nigeria through UNICEF will contribute to the national stockpile of test kits managed by NCDC, and support efforts of the growing network of accredited laboratories across the country for the testing of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued support from UNICEF, IHS Towers and other partners.” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC.

IHS Towers has been a strong and continuing partner of UNICEF. At the onset of the coronavirus in Nigeria in late February, IHS Nigeria provided funding to UNICEF to urgently procure essential supplies and equipment with which UNICEF supported the Government of Nigeria in its COVID-19 response.

“UNICEF is deeply appreciative of IHS Towers’ commitment to being a partner in UNICEF’s work in Nigeria. Once more, IHS has shown great generosity in supporting UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

“I am very delighted to receive this huge contribution from IHS Towers, the benefit of which will reach many more children and their families“, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative.

“We are proud to have played an important role in supporting the Government and our communities where we operate to provide crucial tools needed to fight this pandemic. We understand this virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but are confident that with our support, and that of our other private sector colleagues, we are helping to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus in our country” said Mohamad Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria.

This recent support of essential tests makes IHS Towers the biggest private sector donor for UNICEF Nigeria’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coca-Cola, Red Cross Society Expand Fight Against COVID-19 In Nigeria



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In a bid to support the fight against the Coronavirus disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with its national society Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) has started the distribution of PPEs and risk communications efforts to the tune of N228 Million to support its COVID-19 interventions in Nigeria.


This is part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $2.5million grant to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the COVID-19 pandemic within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.

The grant, which leverages the long-standing partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), seeks to support national efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the provision of essential medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk communications to impacted communities, healthcare personnel on the frontlines and treatment centres across the country.


Speaking on the donation, Yebeltal Getachew, managing director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “The Coca-Cola System (Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and Chi Limited) remains committed to providing support to the communities we serve during these challenging times.


“By providing healthcare workers with much-needed PPEs, we are confident that this will go a long way in ensuring their safety as they remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.


“Coca-Cola is proud to support the Red Cross as we deliver on our purpose of making a difference across the world”. 


Medical supplies being donated comprise N95 respirators, surgical masks, examination gloves, face shields, medical gowns, no-touch thermometers, disposable aprons, heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, basic masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizers.


Expressing his gratitude for the donation, Abubakar Kende, secretary-general for the Nigerian Red Cross Society explained, “We have identified the facilities in urgent need of these PPEs in consultation with NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and will subsequently be distributed to these centres.


“This will ensure that treatment centres across the country are properly equipped with necessary PPEs as we continue to fight the disease”. 

IFRC seeks to directly impact the lives of over 1.4 million people in Nigeria and across other countries in West and Central Africa under this partnership. For over a century, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have sustained a rewarding partnership that has seen the rehabilitation and preservation of human lives across the world through the delivery of humanitarian aid and emergency response to communities affected by disasters.




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