Press Releases

IFC’s Chief Reaffirms Commitment to Develop UAE’s Private Sector

In Dubai
Mouayed Makhlouf
Phone: +97 (1) 4360-1000


In Cairo

Riham Mustafa & Egidio Germanetti

Phone: +20 (2) 461-9150 Ext. 306/ 314


Dubai, March 25, 2007—Lars Thunell, head of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today completed a visit to the United Arab Emirates, during which he emphasized private sector development as the most important engine of growth and job creation.

The one-day visit highlighted IFC’s continuing commitment to its well-established partnership with UAE. Thunell was accompanied by Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “IFC’s main focus in the UAE is development and promotion of investment and trade between emerging markets,” said Thunell. “We see untapped opportunities, and we are committed to helping the country’s private sector expand across the region. We also believe that improving corporate governance and promoting entrepreneurship are key to growth for the UAE's smaller businesses,” added Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President.

IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa—PEP-MENA —has been very active in promoting responsible practices in corporate governance.  Partnering with the Dubai International Finance Corporation, IFC PEP-MENA recently supported the launch of Hawkamah, Dubai’s Institute for Corporate Governance. IFC and Hawkamah will improve corporate governance reforms and assist countries across the region in developing policies based on international best practices.

IFC PEP-MENA is also concentrating on the next generation of business people in the UAE.  The country’s overall population is expected to reach 5 million by 2010, half of them under the age of 20.  To sustain the level of opportunities for young Emiratis, IFC PEP-MENA has partnered with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders to promote entrepreneurship. Programs aimed at the young entrepreneurs are based on IFC’s Business Edge, the brand name for the Corporation’s international range of management training products.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit


IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa—PEP-MENA—is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa. It focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.