Ramallah, West Bank, January 11, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an equity investment
of $3 million in the first public share offering from Wataniya Palestine,
West Bank and Gaza’s second largest mobile phone operator, to make mobile
services more accessible and affordable in the West Bank and Gaza.
IFC’s investment, which represents about one percent of the equity of
Wataniya Palestine, will help the company increase mobile phone coverage
in West Bank and Gaza, supporting economic growth and expanding business
opportunities in the region. This investment will also help strengthen
the Palestinian Exchange by attracting long term institutional investors
to the market.
Mohammad Mustafa, Wataniya Mobile Chairman said: “IFC’s investment
is a vote of confidence in both the Palestinian economy and in Wataniya
Mobile. No doubt, it will help the company in the future to reach out with
confidence to additional sources of financing to secure further financing
for critical projects including additional expansions to its network infrastructure
and service offerings.”
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for the Middle East, North Africa and
Southern Europe, said, “IFC is committed to supporting growth in the Palestinian
private sector. This investment will help demonstrate that there
is a viable market in the telecommunications sector and attract more long
Wataniya Palestine is a joint venture between the Palestine Investment
Fund and Wataniya Telecom, which is majority-owned by Qtel, Qatar’s leading
telecommunications operator. In 2009, IFC provided Wataniya Palestine with
a $30 million loan to help it enter the Palestinian market.
Information and communication technology (ICT), including mobile phone
services, contributes to poverty reduction by creating employment, increasing
productivity and creating new business opportunities. ICT also helps make
governments, private sector enterprises, health and education providers
and civil society organizations more effective and efficient.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create
opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do
so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply
essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering
advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global
economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion
in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.