New boost for telecommunications in Afghanistan

22 Jun 2009

New boost for telecommunications in Afghanistan

KABUL - Afghanistan’s fastest-growing telecommunication sector has received a US$ 65 million loan aimed at expanding the mobile network in the country.

MTN Afghanistan, the second-largest mobile telephone operator in the country with more than 2.5 million subscribers, has received the loan from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The demand for affordable mobile phone services is growing in Afghanistan and this investment is aimed in particular at low-income populations.

"Mobile telecommunications enable access to knowledge and services, innovation across sectors, and more efficiency in the delivery of government and business services,” said Moshen Khalil, IFC Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies.

“IFC is providing long-term funding, which is a great vote of confidence for this frontier market. It will enable us to serve the people of Afghanistan by enhancing network coverage and expanding high-quality services to a greater number of customers,” said James Ramadan, MTN Group’s Regional Vice President for Middle East and North Africa.

IFC’s investment portfolio in Afghanistan totals US$ 95 million in five companies, including investments in two small microfinance institutions.

Four mobile companies are operating in Afghanistan and nearly eight million Afghans now use mobile phones compared to none in 2001.

By Kangying Guo, UNAMA

Website: International Finance Corporation