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IFC Sees Improving Opportunities for Business in Liberia


In Monrovia
Kay Schwendinger
Phone: + (23) 16 592 898
Email: kschwendinger@worldbank.org


Monrovia, February 2, 2007—Liberia’s efforts to revitalize its economy have laid the groundwork for IFC to pursue new opportunities for private business growth, said IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell during a visit to Monrovia today.

“I would like to congratulate the government on its commitment to tackle corruption, its adoption of a transparent process in awarding government contracts, and its proactive engagement with private sector players,” Mr. Thunell said. “These steps to improve the business environment make it possible for IFC to play a crucial role in supporting private sector development, and they will spur investment and entrepreneurial activity across the country.”

Mr. Thunell was in Liberia as part of a three-country Africa trip that also included Ghana and Nigeria. He met with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, other senior government officials, representatives from the local private sector, and some of IFC’s partners and clients in the country while in Monrovia.

Mr. Thunell signed an advisory mandate during the visit for IFC to serve as lead adviser to the government in selecting a private operator that will supply Monrovia with electricity in the short to medium term, until a longer-term solution can be achieved.

IFC’s activities in Liberia are conducted through its post-conflict initiative for Africa, which its Board approved in June 2006 to enhance IFC’s activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. IFC’s strategy involves supporting Liberia’s economic recovery by helping improve the investment climate, strengthening the financial sector, supporting private participation in infrastructure, and financing selected private sector companies.

IFC has had a presence in Liberia since 1965, when it took an equity stake in the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment. Today IFC is looking at ways to engage further with this institution, in such areas as trade finance and advisory services on risk management and internal processes.

Since February 2006, a joint team from the World Bank Group—representing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, the Foreign Investment Advisory Service, and IFC’s Private Enterprise Partnership for Africa—has been conducting a large-scale advisory program in Liberia. Goals include reducing barriers to formalization of businesses; improving the investment policy framework, legislation, and institutions; and improving public-private dialogue to underpin reforms that assist the private sector.

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC provides financial products for private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides advisory services to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in advisory services. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

In Johannesburg
Desmond Dodd
Phone: + (27) 83 448 9873
Email: ddodd@ifc.org

In Washington, DC
Rita Jupe
Phone: + 1 (202) 458 8967
Email: rjupe@ifc.org