Port au Prince, Haiti, April 30, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced that Haiti’s government and
central bank (Banque de la République d’Haiti -BRH) have signed an agreement
with Vietnam’s largest mobile telephone operator Viettel for $99 million,
Haiti’s largest foreign direct investment after the earthquake.
The investment will expand telecommunications
services amid Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, including building the country’s
first fiber optic cable network.
Under a public-private partnership structured
by IFC, Viettel will initially invest $59 million, and an additional $40
million over four years, to upgrade services offered by fixed line operator
Télécommunications d’Haiti S.A. (TELECO), creating a new company in which
Viettel will hold a 60 percent stake and BRH, TELECO and their affiliates
will control the remaining 40 percent.
IFC served as the advisor to the Haitian
government in structuring the international bidding process for the partnership
since June 2007. It is expected to make a significant contribution
to the country’s recovery by rebuilding much-needed infrastructure and
increasing Haitian’s access to fixed, mobile telephone services, as well
as high-speed Internet.
Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President
and CEO, noted: ““The agreement reflects the extraordinary commitment
of the Government of Haiti and Viettel to ensuring a safer and more sustainable
future for the Haitian people. Economic growth is easier to achieve when
people have the basic tools they need to communicate and connect with the
Viettel’s investment comes at a critical
time. Even prior to the devastating earthquake on January 12, Haiti’s
fixed-line penetration was only 1.8 percent—the lowest in Latin America
and the Caribbean. Mobile density was emerging at around 35 percent
while Internet penetration remained below 1 percent. The earthquake
caused significant damage to existing telecom operators’ networks, including
those of TELECO and other local providers.
“Enhancing telecommunications infrastructure
at this time is an essential component of Haiti’s reconstruction efforts,”
said Charles Castel, Governor of BRH. “We welcome Viettel’s commitment
which shows confidence in Haiti and sends a signal to other potential private
investors who want to support the country’s recovery and development.”
IFC worked closely with Haiti’s Council
for the Modernization of State-Owned Enterprises, which acted as the project’s
implementation agency on behalf of BRH and ensured the highest standards
of transparency and fairness. IFC also coordinated with the World
Bank, which was conducting a reform project to improve the regulatory environment
for telecom companies in Haiti.
IFC’s infrastructure advisory services
in the TELECO project received donor support from DevCo, a multidonor facility
affiliated with the Private Infrastructure Development Group. DevCo
is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development,
the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development
Agency, and the Austrian Development Agency. Additional support for
IFC’s advisory work was provided by the United States Treasury Department.
IFC’s strategy in Haiti focuses on
catalyzing private sector development through direct lending and advisory
services and leveraging donor support. Since 2000, IFC has committed
$65.6 million to Haiti’s private sector. IFC’s strategy also seeks
to promote job creation, increase access to basic services, and develop
human capital. IFC has expanded its investment operations and advisory
services in Haiti and opened a local office in 2008.
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 capital for private enterprise,
and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel
capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.