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Washington D.C., August 9, 2012—
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the GSMA, a global association representing the interests of mobile operators, signed an agreement to increase the use of green-power technologies at network sites in areas with limited or no grid-power access. This is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and optimize business models of mobile operators worldwide.
The agreement is a part of the joint IFC-GSMA “Green Power for Mobile” program which, in partnership with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promotes the use of green power such as solar and wind at mobile network towers in remote, rural areas around the world. As a result of the program, the total number of green-power sites worldwide has increased by 36 percent since 2009, up to nearly 12,600 sites today.
“IFC has seen that mobile services can transform people’s lives and help grow local economies,” said Kent Lupberger, IFC Global Head of Telecommunications, Media, and Technology. “There is great opportunity for green power to help address climate change, expand mobile services into rural areas, and in the longer term become part of the solution for powering rural villages.”
“The lack of power infrastructure and the availability of power are key challenges for mobile-network operators in expanding coverage into remote and rural areas,” said Chris Locke, Managing Director, GSMA Development Fund. “Using renewable energy improves the economic viability of this expansion and allows the cycle of economic and social development through mobile communication to begin.”
There are about 640,000 off-grid mobile-network sites located in developing countries and powered by diesel generators. Research has shown that 120,000 of these off-grid sites could adopt more environmentally friendly green-power solutions and technologies such as solar, wind, fuel cell, and deep-cycle batteries that would help reduce environmental impact and be more economically beneficial.
Under the agreement, IFC and GSMA aim to develop more than 10,000 green mobile-power sites over the next four years. The two organizations will work together to develop industry standards, facilitate technical training, conduct feasibility studies, and promote good business practices for green power in the mobile telecommunications sector, with a special focus on 10 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Additionally, IFC will provide a $821,000 grant and advisory services on clean energy and sustainable private sector financing.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, spanning more than 220 countries. It unites nearly 800 mobile operators and more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations. GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo. For more information, visit
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