Press Releases

IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell Visiting Cameroon, February 6-8, 2006

In Johannesburg, South Africa.:
Elizabeth Pretorius
Phone: 27 11 731 3155

In Washington, D.C.:
Corrie Shanahan
Phone: +202 473 2258

Johannesburg, February 06, 2006— Mr. Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will visit Cameroon, February 6-8, 2006.

The visit underscores the importance and continuing commitment that IFC attaches to its partnership with Cameroon. Mr. Thunell’s program will include meetings with government officials as well as consultations with local private sector representatives, donors, women entrepreneurs, and IFC clients. Mr. Thunell will be accompanied by Mr. Paulo Gomes, Executive Director of the World Bank Group, and Mr. Richard Ranken, IFC’s Director for Africa.

These meetings will give Mr. Thunell an opportunity to discuss economic and social developmental priorities for the country and to explore ways to improve the business environment and promote more increased private sector development.

"Cameroon has tremendous potential, especially given its human capital and natural resources.  IFC will continue to support the country's development efforts, including empowering the private sector as the main engine of growth," said Mr. Thunell.

IFC’s strategy for Cameroon includes enhancing support to small and medium enterprises, improving the business environment climate, and focusing more on targeted sectors for direct investments.

In recent years, IFC’s investments in Cameroon have included:

-        In 2005, a long-term loan financing of $1.3 million to 3T Cameroon, a local logistics company, for the expansion of its trucking fleet and the construction of its new office building.

-        In 2005, a long-term loan financing of $1 million to NOSA, a soap manufacturing company, for expansion of its laundry soap factory and an upgrade of its water treatment facilities.

-        In 2004, a $1 million equivalent equity investment in Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie du Cameroon (BICEC), part of IFC’s commitment to support privatization in the country’s banking sector.

-        In 2003, a $2.5 million equivalent guarantee for financing of UC-Pharm’s pharmaceuticals distribution in Cameroon.

-        In 2002, a $12.5 million financing to Orange for development of its mobile phone communications network in the country.

-        In 2001 a $200 million financing for construction and operation of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project.

IFC’s main advisory assignment in the country is the privatization of Cameroon Airlines through a process known as "scission-liquidation." This mandate is currently being implemented.

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

In FY05, IFC committed 32 projects in 13 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region for a total amount of $445 million. IFC’s total committed portfolio for the region as of June 30, 2005, was about $2 billion.

Since its first investment in Cameroon in 1973, IFC has committed financing in 36 projects amounting to $775 million. Investments include $303 million for IFC’s own account and $471 million for the account of banks participating in loan syndications. As of June 2005, Cameroon’s portfolio was $120 million.

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