WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 1999 — IFC
Executive Vice President Peter Woicke will travel to Guatemala, Honduras,
El Salvador, and Costa Rica – a region where economic reforms and political
stability have opened much potential for the development of the private
IFC is the part of the World Bank Group that promotes private sector investment
in developing countries which will reduce poverty and improve people's
lives. In Central America, that means supporting the development
of regional private financial and physical infrastructure and supporting
internationally competitive companies as democratization develops and provides
a more welcoming atmosphere for the private sector.
IFC is focusing on building the base of small- and medium-sized companies
in Central America, principally by investing in regional financial institutions
that, in turn, provide long-term financing for these companies. IFC will
provide additional support to small- and medium-sized companies in countries
affected by Hurricane Mitch through a dedicated technical assistance trust
fund. IFC is also helping to involve the private sector in infrastructure
investments and privatizations in Central America. And most recently, IFC
has reacted to the devastation of Hurricane by working on investments to
help otherwise sound companies that need help to recover.
In Guatemala, the country where IFC has invested most in the region and
opened a regional office last year, Mr. Woicke will meet with President
Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen and senior officials as well as business people. He
will visit Fabrigas Rio Bobos, a hydropower project financed by IFC, and
meet with other clients in the agroindustrial, power, financial, and retail
The damage of Hurricane Mitch will dominate the visit in Honduras, where
Mr. Woicke is scheduled to meet with President Carlos Flores Facusse and
the central bank governor as well as signing an investment in the country's
largest shrimp farm producer, Granjas Marinas, to speed recovery from hurricane
destruction. IFC is currently considering other transactions, in
particular projects in agribusiness, to help Honduran companies to rebuild
and resume expansion after the setback of Mitch. IFC is also preparing
a study to determine the need for a rehabilitation fund designed to assist
agro-exporters to improve their financial health and undertake delayed
In El Salvador, Mr. Woicke will meet incoming President Francisco Flores
and other government officials. IFC has made a number of investments
since the end of the military conflict, including up to US$1 million in
AFP Prevision, which manages mandatory and voluntary pension funds in El
Salvador's new social security system. Mr. Woicke will visit the company,
underlining that IFC's involvement in the Salvadoran pension industry,
initiated through this project, is designed to encourage other capital
market development initiatives.
On his last stop, in Costa Rica, Mr. Woicke will meet with President Rodriguez
as well as IFC client Grupo Mas X Menos, the holding company for Corporacion
Supermercados Unidos, a retail business in which IFC recently invested
US$40 million to bring low-cost, one-stop shopping to consumers in Central
America and the Caribbean.
Mr. Woicke became IFC Executive Vice President and World Bank Managing
Director in January 1999 after a career with J.P. Morgan that took him
to positions in the Middle East, Latin America, and most recently to Asia
where he served as Chairman of J.P. Morgan Securities Asia.
IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes
capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. IFC's portfolio for
its own account in Central America totals $230 million.
Mr. Woicke's itinerary:
June 21-22 Guatemala
June 23 Honduras
June 24 El Salvador
June 25 Costa Rica
Journalists are invited to a news conference with Mr. Woicke at The Princess
Hotel in Tegucigalpa, Wednesday, June 23, 1999 at 5:30 p.m.
For further information on Mr. Woicke's trip or IFC's work in Central America
please contact Jannette Esguerra at the number listed above or in Guatemala
City, June 21-22 at (502) 367-2275.