WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2000 -
The International Finance Corporation, which has been advising the Government
of Uganda on the restructuring and privatization of the national telecommunications
operator, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), has overseen the sale of a 51 percent
stake in UTL by international tender to a consortium led by Detecon of
Germany for US$33.52 million.
Mr. Michael Opagi, Director of the Ugandan Privatization Unit, said the
sale yielded prices above the expectations of many market observers and
represented a vote of confidence from international investors in Uganda.
He said the transaction shows the government's firm commitment to a fair
and transparent privatization program.
IFC, which provides advice to governments on privatizations alongside its
traditional role of project financing in developing countries, has advised
the Ugandan government on a series of transactions and sector reforms.
This transaction is an important step in the liberalization and development
of the telecommunications sector, and follows the creation of an independent
regulatory agency and the successful sale in 1997 of a telecommunications
license to a second national operator led by MTN of South Africa and Telia
The Detecon consortium includes Telecel International Ltd. and the Ikwezi
Group, which each control 40 percent of the consortium.
The project also received substantial donor support amounting to $580,000
from the Governments of Norway, Sweden and the U.S. from technical assistance
Mr. Andre Cracco, Director of IFC's Corporate Finance Services predicted
that the privatization of UTL would bring increased competition and that
consumers would benefit from better services and lower tariffs.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the
developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.