Roshan, today announced it has secured funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to support the rollout of the company’s 3G and high speed data services throughout the country. IFC will provide Roshan debt financing for the amount of $65 million. This most recent injection of capital from IFC will enable Roshan to continue to expand its infrastructure and provide the highest quality network and services to its six million customers. Since Roshan was founded in 2003, it has concluded three earlier rounds of financing totaling almost $200 million. All of these previous loans have been fully paid on schedule.
A decade ago when Roshan began its operations, less than 100,000 people had access to mobile telecommunications. To date, the company has invested more than $550 million in infrastructure to create a state-of-the-art, high quality, network that provides coverage to over 65 percent of the population in 230 cities and towns in all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Today, Roshan’s customers not only have access to basic voice services, but can also access the internet, social media channels, and additional value added services including mobile banking. Roshan currently offers high-speed data services that are available nationwide and 3G will further complement the existing network infrastructure and provide faster access to services.
“In just a short period of time, the Afghan telecommunications market has grown rapidly and Roshan spearheaded that development. The ability to speak to one another is a basic human need and over ten years, Roshan has played an integral role in achieving this milestone. Now we are ready to lead the broadband revolution for Afghanistan’s next generation,” Karim Khoja, Roshan, Chief Executive Officer, said. “Apart from providing even faster speed and access for our customers, 3G’s enhanced connectivity enables greater access to vital, quality telecommunications that stimulate social and economic development in a host of sectors such as healthcare, education and finance. This will allow Roshan to build on our telemedicine, e-education and mobile banking applications that are already helping to develop and fast-track the country’s infrastructure,” Khoja added.
“As we have seen in countless places, the ability to communicate is vital for economic development,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “This agreement will help bring the internet to the doorstep of Afghans, opening up a world of possibilities.”
One of Roshan’s main goals is to be a catalyst for socio-economic development and harnessing the power of telecommunications to bring about measureable change in Afghanistan. In 2007 Roshan started its Telemedicine project linking the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) in Kabul to the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi (AKUH). Since then, the Telemedicine Project has expanded to include Bamiyan Hospital (2010) and Faizabad Hospital (2011) to deliver remote medical care, diagnosis, treatment and training to populated and isolated areas of the country. With the addition of 3G, this will spur even further development and greater connectivity to those areas that need it the most.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In the fiscal year 2012, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges.