Lusaka, Zambia, Tuesday 2 December 2008—Enhancing
access to finance for smaller businesses, improving the business environment,
developing infrastructure, and investing in key economic sectors such as
agribusiness and tourism are high priorities for IFC as it strives to expand
its development impact in Zambia, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO
Lars Thunell told reporters today during his first visit to the country.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
The three-day visit highlighted IFC’s
commitment to and well-established partnership with Zambia. Thunell is
meeting with members of the private sector and key government officials,
including President Rupiah Banda and Minister of Finance and National Planning
"Zambia’s private sector is playing
an increasingly important role in promoting economic development and reducing
poverty," Thunell said. “IFC is committed to supporting Zambia’s
businesses by offering innovative products and services that meet the challenges
in Zambia today.”
Since its first investment in Zambia
in1999 and as of June 30, 2008, IFC has mobilized about $180 million in
investments for Zambia’s economy in sectors such as agribusiness, mining,
tourism, telecommunications infrastructure, and finance. IFC’s advisory
services are also working closely with the government to improve the business
environment and with businesses to more fully integrate small entrepreneurs
into the country’s economy.
IFC’s strategy in Zambia focuses on
helping improve the investment climate; promoting investment in power,
telecommunications, and other infrastructure; helping diversify the economy
by increasing the competitiveness of the manufacturing, services, and agribusiness
sectors; and working with the financial sector to make it easier for businesses
to access finance.
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 $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.