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.