Finnfund today announced a USD 19 million loan to Iraq’s leading mobile network provider Atheer Telecom Iraq, known by its brand name Zain Iraq.
Finnfund, the fund for industrial cooperation is a Finnish development finance company. Zain Iraq has over 14.6 million customers and employs over 2,000 people in Iraq.
The financing allows Zain Iraq to modernize its network in Northern Iraq as well as enhancement to the capacity and quality of its existing 3G network in other parts of the country.
This is Finnfund’s first investment in Iraq and demonstrates the company’s strategy to support post-conflict and fragile countries. The loan is part of a debt package which is syndicated by IFC, a member of the World Bank group.
According to Finnfund, development of a reliable and well-functioning mobile network can contribute significantly to development particularly in post-conflict and fragile areas by increasing productivity, economic activity and even reducing income inequalities. In addition, mobile network can facilitate the use of mobile services such as money transfers and mobile banking. Currently, in Iraq only 25 percent of the population is using 3G network, and 11 percent of adult population has an access to financial services.
Jaakko Kangasniemi, CEO, Finnfund
Rebuilding Iraq will require private investments in basic infrastructure and services to the tune of USD 100 billion. Finnfund is proud to contribute to re-connecting Iraqis to each other and the world through mobile networks.
Ali Al-Zahid, CEO of Zain 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. It will also enhance access to higher quality broadband, a key enabler of broad economic activity, for both consumers and businesses.