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IFC Invests $269 million in Iraq to Reconstruct Telecom Operations and Drive Growth

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a financing package of $269 million to Zain Iraq, a leading mobile network operator, to help reconstruct the country’s telecom operations and spur economic growth. 

IFC arranged a $269 million debt package including $100 million from IFC’s own account, and $169 million in mobilization. The mobilized amount includes a B Loan from Arab Bank, a loan through the IFC Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a new syndications platform that offers institutional investors the ability to passively participate in IFC’s future senior loan portfolio, and a parallel loan from DEG and Finnfund. The financing will help Zain Iraq enhance the capacity and quality of its 3G network and expand coverage to unserved areas, as well as helping the company modernize its networks and customer service in northern Iraq. 


“This financing from IFC and partners will help us strengthen our footprint, modernize infrastructure, and provide a better quality of service to our customers,” said Ali Al-Zahid, the CEO of Zain Iraq. “It will also enhance access to higher quality broadband, a key enabler of broad economic activity, for both consumers and businesses.” 

Iraq is one of the least developed telecom markets in the Middle East region due to the fragile security situation, and mobile network operators have struggled to maintain their networks and have refrained from investing heavily in infrastructure. 

“Supporting infrastructure development in Iraq is an essential building block of the reconstruction effort,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Restoring and enhancing broadband infrastructure can have a substantial multiplier effect on the economy through increased connectivity and reduced transaction costs, enhanced flows of information, and more efficient and effective matching of market players, among many other much needed benefits.” 

By arranging and mobilizing a seven-year loan in a country where long-term financing options remain limited, IFC’s investment will support Zain Iraq’s growth plans, while sending a positive signal to domestic and international players at a critical point in the country’s recovery. 

Zain Iraq has been an IFC partner since 2011, when IFC arranged a $400 million syndicated loan for the company. This included mobilization of $195 million from DEG, Proparco, FMO, and the Infrastructure Credit Facility.   

About IFC 
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. 

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