Cairo, Egypt, April 12, 2010—IFC
CEO, Lars Thunell, today called for more private sector investment
in infrastructure projects in Egypt and across the Middle East and Africa,
saying it would help support broad economic growth in the regions and improve
services for rapidly-growing populations. IFC is a member of the World
Thunell, speaking at a seminar on public-private partnerships organized
by IFC, said, “Infrastructure is a critical sector for development and
poverty reduction and requires vast sums of investment in developing countries.
IFC is working with governments to structure investment opportunities that
balance the interests of private investors with the needs of the community
for long-lasting economic and social benefits.”
The seminar focused on the transport sector, particularly port development,
and brought together private sector port operators, port authorities, and
government officials from the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan
Africa to learn about and discuss opportunities provided by public-private
The seminar was hosted by IFC in partnership with the Infrastructure Consortium
for Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, and DevCo, a multi-donor program
affiliated with the Private Infrastructure Development Group.
Alex Rugamba, Coordinator of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA),
added, "Africa’s economic performance is intricately linked with
the development of the continent’s infrastructure. As identified in the
Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic study, Africa’s ports system
needs to be enhanced in order to accommodate growing trade volumes and
provide better regional transport linkages. The objective will be to reduce
the current high costs and delays in the port system. The ICA will continue
focusing on facilitating infrastructure financing in Africa, including
private sector investment."
The Middle East and North Africa region has the lowest amount of private
infrastructure investment in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, a recent
World Bank study estimated that the region needs $93 billion annually in
infrastructure investment to meet demand.
IFC recently helped complete the first public-private partnership transaction
in Egypt, a wastewater plant in a new city near Cairo. In Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, and Tunisia, IFC has helped build the transportation sector by
helping structure public-private partnerships to improve and build airports.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, IFC helped support a 25-year concession to build
the South Wharf Container Terminal between the government of Benin and
France’s Groupement Bolloré to increase trade between landlocked countries
in West Africa and the rest of the world. In Senegal, IFC invested $750,000
in Comasel de St Louis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Morocco's electricity
utility, to bring power to 20,000 rural households in 300 villages.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5
billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries
during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.