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Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad noted this past weekend that a deal for Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. (Zain) to take a major stake in Palestinian operator Palestine Telecommunication Company (PalTel)–which operates in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip–could be signed sometime this week. Zain, which is Kuwait’s biggest mobile operator, is spending billions to expand and provides services in 22 countries in the Middle East and Africa. Shares of PalTel, meanwhile, rose 4.9% on Monday on heavy volume and are up 26.3% YTD. Palestine’s Al-Quds Index, meanwhile, is up 23% in 2009, one of only two Middle East and North African exchanges up for the year.
A Paltel acquisition would become Zain’s 23rd country, following a three-year campaign costing around $5 billion. Zain plans to spend another $5 billion on acquisitions in the next few years, said its CEO, Dr. Saad Al-Barrak, who also mentioned that the company is interested in operations in Mali, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola and Liberia.