8 Apr 2008

World Bank division to invest millions in expanding phone services in PNG

10:01 am on 8 April 2008


A branch of the World Bank has teamed up with the multi national telecommunications company, Digicel, aiming to spread mobile phone services into rural Papua New Guinea.

The International Finance Corporation, or IFC, says the project intends to substantially expand reach, improve quality, stimulate competition, cut costs to consumers and provide significant employment.

IFC will provide around 40 million US dollars with another investor, Export Development Canada, providing around 25 million.

The IFC's Peter Cusack, says the money is being loaned, at commercial rates, to Digicel, because it is a company that is prepared to invest in areas that others haven't previously.

"There's been an incumbent operating in Papua New Guinea for many many years that, for whatever reason, hasn't been able to deliver those services. The private sector can deliver it and that is IFC's operating raison d'etre if you like, to get the private sector investment, bettering people's lives, creating employment and growing the economy.