Press Releases

IFC CEO Calls for More Private Sector Investment in Infrastructure in Middle East, Africa

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa

Phone: +202 24 619 140


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 Bank Group.

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 partnerships.

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.

About IFC

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