WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 1999
-- The International Finance Corporation has approved an equity investment
of US$10 million in Mobile Systems International Cellular Investments Holdings,
B.V. (MSICIH), a cellular operating company with multiple cellular networks
MSICIH has five cellular operations in Egypt, Hong Kong SAR, Malawi, Uganda
and Zambia. Over the past year, the company acquired four new licenses
through open international competitive bidding in Chad, the Republic of
Congo, Gabon, and Sierra Leone. The company has bid for the third cellular
license in South Africa and intends to bid for licenses in other countries
in Africa as opportunities arise.
IFC's equity investment will help finance the construction, expansion and
operation of mobile cellular telecommunications networks, at the same time
spurring modernization of telecommunications in these countries, said Mr.
Declan J. Duff, Director of IFC's Telecommunications, Transportation and
Utilities Department. Cellular networks have the advantage of leapfrogging
infrastructure bottlenecks where conventional networks are inadequate or
have not been established. Mr. Duff added that MSICIH will bring expertise
and capital to build a series of networks.
MSICIH is majority-owned by Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, who is the Chairman of
the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Other shareholders
include AIG (USA), Bessemer Venture Partners (USA), Communications Venture
Partners (UK), GE Capital (USA), Mitsui (Japan), New Africa Advisors (USA)
and WorldTel (UK).
To date, IFC has approved investments of US$2.3 billion in telecommunications
projects worldwide, of which US$1 billion was for IFC's own account.
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.