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IFC Invests $75 Million to Expand Mobile Communications Access in Afghanistan


In Washington, D.C.:
Alexandra Klopfer
Phone: (202) 473-4645
E-mail: aklopfer@worldbank.org

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: (202) 2461-4230
E-mail: rmustafa@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., June 22, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a $65 million loan and $10 million in equity to MTN Afghanistan to support the expansion of the company’s mobile telephone network and meet the country’s growing demand for affordable mobile phone services.

MTN Afghanistan is owned by MTN Dubai Ltd, part of the South Africa-based MTN Group Ltd, a long time IFC partner. It is the second-largest mobile telephone operator in Afghanistan with more than 2.5 million subscribers. The expansion is aimed in particular at low-income populations.

“MTN Group places high importance on its operation in Afghanistan,” said James Ramadan, MTN Group’s Regional Vice President for Middle East and North Africa. “We have invested significantly in MTN Afghanistan and will continue to do so in the future. IFC is providing long-term funding, which is a great vote of confidence for this frontier market. It will enable us to serve the people of Afghanistan by enhancing network coverage and expanding high-quality services to a greater number of customers.”
 
Mohsen Khalil, IFC Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies, said, "Mobile telecommunications enable access to knowledge and services, innovation across sectors, and more efficiency in the delivery of government and business services. We hope that our investment will encourage other investors to support to support the telecommunications sector, and more broadly, economic development and growth in Afghanistan.”

IFC’s investment portfolio in Afghanistan totals $95 million in five companies, including investments in two small and microfinance institutions. IFC’s advisory activities complement its investments through capacity-building initiatives with these two institutions, and by helping the government establish regulatory frameworks for leasing and housing-sector lending. IFC is also engaged in initiatives to enhance the business skills of small and medium enterprises in agribusiness, and to increase the capacity of financial institutions in microfinance and small-enterprise lending and advising the Central Bank to establish credit and collateral registries.


About IFC
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 private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

For more information about MTN Afghanistan, visit http://www.mtn.com.af.