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IFC Hosts Pakistan Investor Roundtable in Washington, D.C.


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org

In Islamabad:

Farid Dossani

Phone: +92 51 227 9631

Fax:      +92 51 282 4335

Email:
Fdossani@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., July, 23, 2004 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today hosted a Pakistan Investor roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C. The roundtable brought together senior officials from the World Bank Group, including MIGA, the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank, and potential investors in Pakistan, drawn largely from the Pakistani Diaspora in the USA.

The investment roundtable was organized for a systematic discussion on the investment opportunities in Pakistan, as it continues on its path of private sector-led high economic growth.  The investor roundtable aimed to explain how the World Bank Group, particularly IFC and MIGA, could enter into partnerships with new private investors in sound, bankable projects.


IFC has been active in Pakistan since 1958, and has invested $1.8 billion in various projects – both for its own account and through syndications. IFC also supports private sector development in Pakistan through its technical assistance and advisory services. IFC’s strategic priorities in Pakistan include strengthening the financial sector, especially housing finance; investing in projects in the manufacturing, telecom, health, education, and information technology sectors; supporting infrastructure projects; and supporting intermediaries that service small and medium enterprises – including making investments in microfinance institutions.


IFC has also assisted the government in its privatization efforts, mainly in the power distribution sector. In the last few years, IFC has concentrated its activity on helping existing clients, often working with them to restructure and strengthen their companies. In the near term, IFC will continue to support investments that have a significant developmental impact on the Pakistani economy, and help attract foreign companies as equity partners in joint venture projects.


Assaad Jabre, IFC vice president for Operations, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for investors in Pakistan. We believe this is the right time to stage this investment roundtable to spotlight the dramatic positive political and economic changes in Pakistan now.” He added, “Today, Pakistan can look towards a future with declining poverty; of rising human development indicators; and an economy growing at over 6 percent per year.”


The government of Pakistan has been a strong advocate of the importance of foreign investment in Pakistan. Tanwir Agha, executive director of the World Bank Group representing Pakistan, remarked at the roundtable, “Over the last five years, there has been a sharp turnaround in Pakistan’s economy, underpinned by the diligent implementation of wide-ranging structural reforms.”


The executive director added, “The government is committed to continue widening and deepening economic and political reform agenda through second generation reforms, which have a sharper focus on improving governance and infrastructure to help the government achieve its annual growth rate target of 8 percent over the medium term. Given the favorable macro economic outlook, the rapidly growing economy and the investment friendly policy, opportunities for investors have never been better. Pakistan is now  an attractive investment destination.”


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.