Cairo, February 4, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $30 million to help build
a sophisticated mobile-phone network in the West Bank that will create
jobs and help make mobile services more affordable and widely available
in the Palestinian territories.
IFC’s investment in Wataniya Palestine
is part of an $85 million loan. Wataniya Palestine is a joint venture of
the Palestine Investment Fund and Wataniya Telecom, which is majority-owned
by Qtel, Qatar’s leading telecommunications operator. This is another
important IFC investment in the Palestinian economy and is IFC’s first
investment associated with a Qatari company since the country became an
IFC member last October.
"The network being built by Wataniya
Palestine will use the internationally popular GSM standard. It will
help address the Palestinian territories telecommunications needs, which
are critical for supporting economic growth and integration. Wataniya Palestine’s
entry into the sector will improve the current low tele-density, increase
competition, and help accelerate market growth.
“IFC’s investment shows a vote of
confidence in the economic prospects of the Palestinian territories telecommunications
sector, which is an essential element of building the local economy, creating
jobs, and offering customers new, high-quality products and services,”
said Allan Richardson, Wataniya’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Mobile telecommunications enable access
to knowledge and services, innovation across sectors, and more efficiency
in the delivery of government and business services,” said Mohsen Khalil,
IFC Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies. “IFC
is committed to promoting growth and opportunities in the Middle East by
facilitating cross-border investments and transfer of capital across the
IFC previously joined forces with Wataniya
Telecom on an investment to expand mobile telecommunications in Maldives.
In the past year, IFC has also supported Palestinian banks in housing finance,
student loans, and trade finance.
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.