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IFC Raises $160 Million to Expand Access to Mobile Telecommunications in Ghana


In Washington, D.C.:
Alexandra Klopfer

Phone: (202) 473-4645

E-mail:
aklopfer@worldbank.org

In Johannesburg:

Houtan Bassiri

Phone: (27 11) 731-3179

E-mail:
hbassiri@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., July 14, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,  has provided a $90 million loan and  mobilized an additional $70 million in syndications to  help Zain Ghana expand its mobile telecommunications network and address the country’s growing demand for affordable communications services.

Zain Ghana is majority-owned by Zain, a leading Middle Eastern telecommunications company and a long-time IFC partner.

The syndicated loan, in the form of an IFC B-loan and a parallel loan, has a seven-year tenor and was over-subscribed by 30 percent.  The IFC B-loan was provided by Cordiant Capital, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited, and the Netherlands Development Finance Company. IFC is acting as a lender of record for the B-loan participants and as an agency vis--vis the parallel lender, the OPEC Fund for International Development, simplifying communications between Zain Ghana and the lenders.  


“Our subscriber base in Ghana already exceeded one million and this investment will enable us to scale up our operations and provide affordable and reliable communications services to a much larger part of the population,” said Zain Ghana Country Manager Philip Sowah. “IFC has brought in a significant number of regional, long-term commercial investors -- a great vote of confidence for this frontier market, particularly in the current economic crisis.”


After acting to liberalize the telecommunications sector and promote competition, Ghana has experienced significant growth in the availability of telecommunications services, at lower costs to consumers. At 45 percent, the mobile penetration rate is higher than in other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa with similar per capita incomes.  Still, Ghana’s teledensity is concentrated in urban areas, leaving the penetration rates in rural and semi-urban areas well below 10 percent due chiefly to capital, infrastructure, and affordability constraints.  


Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC Senior Manager for Global Information and Communication Technologies, said, “IFC is pleased to support Zain Ghana  in offering access to affordable, quality service beyond large cities  to remote and rural areas across Ghana. This fits well with IFC’s objective to support the government in making available affordable telecommunications services to underserved populations.”


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Zain

Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 64.7 million active customers as of March 31, 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain is the third-largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages ‘mtc-touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31 percent of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). Zain is listed in the Financial Times’ Global 500 Index, which ranks the world’s largest companies based on market capitalization. For more information, visit
www.zain.com.