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.
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.
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.