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IFC Mobilizes $80 Million for Pan-African Cellular Operator Celtel International B.V.

Washington, D.C., March 17, 2005— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has recently mobilized an $80 million long-term debt facility, consisting of senior loans from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Finnfund, Proparco, and Swedfund as well as its own commitment of $40 million. The $80 million debt facility is part of a $270 million medium- and long-term debt package raised with 13 commercial banks to fund the company’s expansion and acquisition activities and refinance existing loan facilities.
Celtel is a long-standing client of IFC and has, with IFC’s assistance, grown from a start-up company with one cellular license in Uganda to one of the leading mobile operators in Africa with more than 5 million subscribers and operations in 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  
Celtel was also the recipient of the first annual IFC Client Leadership Award in October 2004, which recognizes a highly successful corporate client that, in line with IFC’s mission, has made a significant contribution to sustainable development.    
“This is an important investment with an existing client that contributes substantially to improving telecommunications services in Sub-Saharan Africa, where markets are still characterized by low penetration rates, promising great growth opportunities,” said Mr. Mohsen Khalil, director of IFC’s Global Information and Communication Technologies Department.  He added, “Celtel has been one of the main driving forces behind the phenomenal development of telecommunications services in Africa over the past few years, taking full advantage of cellular technology.”  
According to Mr. Richard Ranken, director of IFC’s Sub-Saharan Africa Department, “This investment has significant development impact in Sub-Saharan Africa as it will support much- needed information infrastructure and demonstrates that private businesses from this region can grow and prosper.”  
Marten Pieters, Celtel’s chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to continue our partnership with IFC. This loan provides us with the additional capability to grow our current business and acquire more value-generating assets across Africa.”
IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Its mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in emerging economies, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in emerging economies, 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.