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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has mobilised a US$80mn long-term debt facility for Celtel, consisting of senior loans from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Finnfund, Proparco, and Swedfund as well as its own commitment of US$40mn. The US$80mn debt facility is part of a US$270mn 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 licence in Uganda to one of the leading mobile operators in Africa with more than 5mn 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 recognises 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,” says Mohsen Khalil, director of IFC’s global information and communication technologies department. 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 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.”