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IFC and Switzerland Sign Agreement to Strengthen Corporate Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa


In Washington, D.C.:
Meera Louis

Phone: +1 202 473-6983

E-mail:
mlouis@ifc.org

In Johannesburg, South Africa:

Gregor Pfeifer

Phone: +27 11 731 3139

E-mail:
gpfeifer@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., April 11, 2014 – Switzerland today agreed to contribute up to $18 million to IFC initiatives aimed at strengthening corporate governance practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is part of a larger agreement that will support such activities in multiple regions and contribute to a partnership effort to create more and better jobs. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.

The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, will provide up to $4.5 million to IFC’s Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa to help private sector companies work with greater transparency, accountability. Strong corporate governance practices help businesses expand their access to capital and enter new markets. Activities will include training for organizations such as institutes of directors and advising companies directly.


"The recent financial crisis is also a reminder of the global implications of corporate governance failure,” said State Secretary Marie Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, ’’Together with IFC we want to set the right governance benchmarks when supporting the private sector in development."


Building on previous regional experiences, an IFC corporate governance program in South East Europe supported by SECO, IFC’s new program in Sub-Saharan Africa will include interventions in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, among others. The improvement of corporate governance practices is widely seen as one important element in strengthening the foundation for individual countries' long-term economic performance and in contributing to a strengthened international financial system.


“Good corporate governance encourages new investments, boosts economic growth, and provides employment opportunities,” said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. ”IFC’s partnership with SECO will support companies’ efforts to grow and create jobs while mitigating risks in the most effective ways.”


Cooperation between Switzerland and IFC Advisory Services dates back to 1989. SECO’s recent support to IFC Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa has totaled more than $40 million.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org

About SECO

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is Switzerland's competence center for all core issues relating to economic policy. Its Economic Cooperation and Development Division is responsible for the planning and implementation of economic cooperation and development activities with middle income developing countries, with countries of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (transition countries). Through its interventions, SECO seeks to ease its partner countries' integration into the world economy and promote economic growth that is socially as well as environmentally responsible and climate-friendly.
For more information, please visit
http://www.seco-cooperation.admin.ch/index.html?lang=en

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