Washington, D.C. October 5, 2004— IFC
has awarded its first annual Client Leadership Award to Celtel International
B.V., a pan-African provider of cellular telephone services. The Client
Leadership Award aims to recognize a highly successful corporate client
that, in line with IFC’s mission, has made a significant contribution
to sustainable development.
“We want to use this award to put a spotlight on a company in the emerging
markets that fully endorses the values that we support and that goes beyond
basic compliance to demonstrate true excellence in management commitment
and corporate governance, environmental practices, or socioeconomic development,”
said Peter Woicke, executive vice president of IFC. “In our book, the
winner of the IFC Client Leadership Award should be a company that sets
the gold standard for its peers anywhere in the world, a company that is
a role model for others, regardless of sector, region, or country.
“This year’s winner, the very first winner, more than meets that test.
It is a mobile telephone company that we have worked with for more than
10 years. And I’m happy to say that it not only operates in Africa
– where it now has 4 million customers – but that it was founded
by the African entrepreneur Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim. And it is growing by
roughly 50 percent each year,” he said.
Celtel provides reliable and affordable cellular services to facilitate
communication and business within Africa and with the rest of the world.
The company has invested more than $600 million in mobile phone operating
companies in 13 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic
of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone,
Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive this award. IFC has been a great
partner in helping us build a sustainable business, delivering affordable
telecommunications services to Africa. We hope to continue this valuable
relationship with IFC as we continue to grow,” said Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim.
Celtel acquired a 60 percent stake in the Kenyan cellular company Kencell
in May of this year, and the company has now over 4 million subscribers.
In 2003 Celtel generated revenues of $446 million and a net income of $74
million. IFC’s relationship with Celtel began with a 1994 investment in
Celtel Uganda, one of the group’s first operating companies. IFC has since
invested in the holding company and in three other Celtel operating subsidiaries,
most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. These investments
have helped modernize networks and increase mobile phone penetration rates.
They have also encouraged competition, which has led to lower tariffs and
increased local private participation in the telecommunications sector.
Celtel has achieved its business goals while committing to strong corporate
governance and the betterment of local communities. Operating in some of
the world’s most difficult markets, Celtel prides itself on its transparent
dealings and on promoting the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Celtel has helped improve health and education by refurbishing schools
and health centers, providing scholarships, supporting programs for athletes
and people with handicaps, and sponsoring the Africa Education Journalism
The company has embraced HIV/AIDS as a business and community issue and
has worked with on
its HIV policy for employees and their
families. Celtel has also started a community phone initiative, installed
solar panels for recharging of phone handsets, and helped protect endangered
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.