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IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell Visits Egypt’s Wadi Group


In Cairo
Riham Mustafa

Phone: 0020 2 461 9150 Ext. 306/314

E-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org

Egidio Germanetti

Phone: 0020 2 461 9150 Ext. 306/314

Email:
egermanetti@ifc.org


Cairo, December 3, 2006—The International Finance Corporation’s Executive Vice President Lars Thunell, on his first official trip to the Middle East and North Africa since joining IFC in January 2006, visited Wadi Group in Cairo, to see how IFC is helping one of Egypt’s largest integrated poultry companies.

In June 2005, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, committed an investment of $15 million to Wadi Group for key upgrades to improve the efficiency of its poultry operations and food production, and for expansion of its acreage of olive groves, and exports of glass food containers. The investment is expected to provide new employment opportunities for about 750 full- and part-time workers.

In addition, IFC’s regional technical assistance facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, has partially funded a program to help Wadi Group integrate contract farming into its poultry operations and optimize its production of compost. IFC also helped Wadi Group implement best practices for biosecurity when avian influenza hit Egypt in early 2006.  Wadi and IFC then collaborated in convening an avian flu conference in Egypt, bringing together the poultry industry and the government to share valuable operational and commercial lessons.    

During his visit, Thunell commented, “Agribusiness is a key sector for Egypt, with agriculture accounting for one-third of the country’s employment. IFC’s investment and technical support to the sector can help create jobs and fuel economic growth. IFC is delighted to invest in companies like Wadi Group, which have impressive sponsors and strong management.”

Musa Freiji, President of Wadi Holdings, commented, “IFC’s involvement in the global agribusiness industry and its high business standards will help accelerate Wadi’s development as an international food processor. For the past 46 years, Wadi Group’s partners have been playing a pivotal role in the development of modern poultry production and food processing in the Arab countries. They are determined to continue this worthy effort, with IFC’s support.”

Thunell’s visit highlights IFC’s continuing commitment to Egypt and to private sector development, poverty reduction, and employment creation throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In fiscal year 2006, IFC committed $81 million to eight projects in Egypt, up from $44 million in the previous fiscal year. In the country’s agribusiness sector, IFC has committed a total of $29 million during fiscal years 2006 and 2007, including $15 million in Wadi Group and $14 million in SONUT bottling company.

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About PEP-MENA

IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.