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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 to consumers.
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 cable.
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 the market.
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.