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IFC Supports Development of New Mobile Telecommunications Network in the Palestinian Territories

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 region.”
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.
About IFC
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 .