Gaborone, January 31, 2008— IFC
will advise the government of Botswana on increasing private sector participation
in the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, reducing telecommunications
charges and extending telephone coverage. IFC is a member of the World
IFC will work with Botswana’s Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization
Agency (PEEPA) on securing a strategic equity partner to invest in and
operate the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and introducing further
policy measures to liberalize the telecommunications industry. The privatization
of the telecommunications provider is in line with Botswana’s broader
strategy to increase private sector participation in the economy.
The signing ceremony for the advisory mandate was held in Johannesburg
and was attended by senior representatives from IFC, the Botswana of Ministry
of Communications Science and Technology, PEEPA, and the Botswana Telecommunications
“Increased private sector participation in the economy is important for
Botswana’s continued economic growth,” said Joshua Galeforolwe, CEO of
Botswana’s Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency. “IFC
brings a combination of global experience in corporate finance and privatization
as well as working with governments to implement economic reforms, especially
in the telecommunications sector,” he said.
The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation was established in 1980, initially
as the country’s sole telecommunication services provider and sector regulator.
The government subsequently established an independent regulator, Botswana
Telecommunications Authority, for the sector and ended BTC’s monopoly,
except in the fixed network and voice services market segments. The government
has further liberalized the sector by issuing service-neutral licenses
and has opened the international gateways to other service providers. The
privatization of BTC is the next step in the liberalization of the sector.
“IFC wants to deliver global expertise that will help ensure a public-private
partnership that attracts private sector investment in infrastructure,
helping meet the needs of a growing economy and improving services, especially
for people who need them most,” said Dorothy Berry, IFC Vice President
for Human Resources, Communications, and Administration.
IFC’s involvement will support further private sector participation in
the country’s telecommunication sector with the aim of advising government
on the best strategy to attract private sector investment into the Botswana
Telecommunications Corporation. The objective of involving the private
sector is to transform BTC into a modern, efficient service provider that
can compete with other players in the country’s newly liberalized telecommunications
BTC offers fixed-line services and is yet to commence mobile services.
Botswana’s mobile telecommunications market already has a penetration
rate of approximately 70 percent, one of the highest in Africa. But many
rural areas and poor segments of the population still lack service.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment,
mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets,
and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty
and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized
an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance
for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory
services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
The Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency is an independent
agency of the Botswana government set up to advise on privatization and
the monitor the performance of state-owned enterprises. It was established
in 2001 as a company limited by guarantee to oversee the implementation
of the Privatization Policy for Botswana.