NAIROBI/WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 2004
-The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group, and the Financial Times opened their two-day international
conference at the Nairobi Intercontinental Hotel today, "Developing
Business and Infrastructure in Africa: Enhancing the Role of the Private
Sector" (see http://www.ftconferences.com/mini_site/ft_ifcafrica/).
Michael Klein, Chief Economist and Vice President for Private Sector Development
of the World Bank Group, noted, "IFC and World Bank Group recognize
that the key to creating wealth, jobs, and economic growth in Africa is
to make it easier to start, operate, and expand a business. That requires
improving the regulatory and physical infrastructure and removing barriers
to doing business."
Francisco Tourreilles, IFC Director for Infrastructure, remarked, "The
World Bank Group, and especially IFC, has been at the forefront of structuring
public-private partnerships in infrastructure for nearly two decades now".
He added, "IFC is here to listen and discuss our experience as IFC
and the World Bank Group generally believe there is real potential to transform
the infrastructure landscape in Africa."
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya formally opened the conference, followed
by a welcome message from Peter Woicke, IFC Executive Vice President and
Managing Director of the World Bank. The conference features speakers from
the government and private sectors of Africa, including President Marc
Ravalomanana of Madagascar; Edward Jaycox, Chief Executive Officer of the
AIG African Infrastructure Fund; Phuthuma Nhleko, Group Chief Executive
of MTN Group; Kenya Finance Minister Daudi Mwiraria; Strive Masiyiwa, Chief
Executive of Econet Wireless; and Tony Hadley, Regional President of Lafarge.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing 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 FY03, IFC has committed more than $37
billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.