Zain Iraq gets IFC funding
$400m debt facility to help improve telecom services in the country
Zain Iraq, a subsidiary of Kuwait-based Zain Group, has gained a $400 million, seven year loan from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to support economic growth and expand telecom services in the country.
Nabeel Bin Salamah, CEO of Zain Group, described the loan as an "enormous vote of confidence" from IFC. "The financing comes at a vital stage of the mobile operations business growth cycle as it expands to serve a relatively low-penetrated, yet high-potential mobile market," he said.
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC director for MENA and Southern Europe, said: "For conflict-affected countries such as Iraq, where the movement of people and goods is complicated, access to reliable, high-quality voice and data services is key for economic activity and for personal and family safety. This facility demonstrates IFC's commitment to supporting economic integration by facilitating cross-border investments within the region."
IFC brought together the commercial bank syndication market and the development finance community to provide access to different sources of financing for Zain Iraq. With the support of Zain Iraq, IFC mobilised the $400 million debt facility in the last four months.
Zain Iraq has a market share of about 50% of Iraq's mobile market, with a subscriber base of about 12 million customers.
IFC's other investments in Iraq- and MENA-based firms undertaking projects in Iraq total $173 million.