WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2001—The
International Finance Corporation today finalized a US$100 million investment
in the Ghanaian telecommunications sector. This $216 million project,
IFC’s largest telecom investment in sub-Saharan Africa, will increase
telecommunications access in the country and improve the quality of service
Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (Ghana Telecom) will expand its
fixed line network, develop a nationwide GSM (Global System for Mobile
telephony) cellular network, and invest in a regional submarine fiber optic
The World Bank played a major role in the privatization of Ghana Telecom
in 1997. Telekom Malaysia Berhad successfully bid for a 30 percent stake
and management control of the company during its privatization through
an open international competitive process. Besides Ghana Telecom,
there is one other national operator and three cellular operators serving
Mohsen Khalil, Director of the joint IFC-World Bank Department for Global
Information and Communication Technologies, said the project will help
Ghana Telecom meet its coverage requirements and alleviate network congestion.
Of particular importance is the extension of service to unserved
remote areas and the increase of capacity for interconnection with all
operators in the sector. The fiber optic cable will enable better
communication within Africa and worldwide. The upgrading of the telecom
infrastructure will also bring in modern technology and provide support
for business and residential needs, he added.
IFC will provide a $40 million loan for its own account and has mobilized
an additional $60 million in B-loan financing for six years from Citibank
NA and Standard Chartered Bank (the two joint arrangers) and Barclays Bank.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty
and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in
emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.