Press Releases
print

IFC CHIEF VISITS AFRICA, NOV. 14-28, 1999


L. Joseph
Phone: (202) 473-7700
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:ljoseph@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 11, 1999 — Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, Peter Woicke, will highlight IFC's priority on Africa when he travels across West Africa and on to Kenya and Uganda from Nov. 13 to 28.
Despite sharpened demand around the world for crisis-related financing, IFC has maintained a steady number of projects in sub-Saharan Africa where there is an ongoing need to upgrade infrastructure, develop banking systems and build up locally owned industries. IFC is the largest financier of private investment in sub-Saharan Africa and has supported more projects in Africa than in any other region of the world.
On his second tour of Africa in 10 months, Mr. Woicke will make stops in Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.
IFC recently detailed the importance of helping the private sector address Africa's infrastructure needs, financial markets development, and support for financial institutions that help smaller businesses in " Building the Private Sector in Africa to Reduce Poverty and Improve People's Lives". IFC is also finding new ways to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship through financing, technical assistance, and advisory services, and will continue to assist projects in sectors where a country has a comparative advantage.
Beyond financing of individual projects, IFC and the American International Group launched the $500 million AIG-African Infrastructure Fund to provide equity finance to infrastructure development across the continent. Inadequate roads, transportation, communications, power, and other infrastructure remain among the most serious impediments to business development in Africa.
The priorities for IFC work in the countries on the tour include:

·        
Senegal's steady growth has attracted new IFC investment in the power sector, industry, microfinance, and a range of small enterprises.
·        
In Mali, IFC approved projects in micro-finance, equipment leasing, and printing and publishing services.
·        
In Côte d'Ivoire, its largest client country in Africa, IFC's activities focus on financial sector projects in infrastructure, especially power, banks, and other financial agencies, as well as investments in petroleum distribution, rehabilitation of a privatized rubber plantation, and SMEs.
·        
In Nigeria, IFC is reestablishing a full investment and advisory program, and is assisting the government with privatization in key infrastructure sectors.
·        
In Kenya, IFC is helping small enterprises in various service sectors and supporting the financial sector by investing in banking and specialized financial service firms that aid capital markets development. IFC is also investing in the power sector.
·        
In Uganda, IFC is helping to address the country's infrastructure needs, and has invested heavily in small enterprises.
IFC approved US$362 million in 80 projects in sub-Saharan Africa in the fiscal year ending last June. IFC's committed portfolio of $1,047 in Africa includes projects ranging from financing of privatized companies and development of domestic financial markets to investments in private infrastructure, extractive and manufacturing industries, tourism, and agro-industry. IFC supports the creation of small and medium enterprises through programs co-sponsored with donor agencies that help African entrepreneurs formulate project proposals and raise local and foreign financing; provides experienced managers and training to local teams; and offers post-financing as well as managerial and technical support.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. In 1997, IFC introduced the Africa Business Network, a website dedicated to African private sector issues at
http://www.ifc.org/abn.
The dates for Mr. Woicke's visit are:

Senegal, Nov. 14-16, Mali, Nov. 16-18;
Côte d'Ivoire, Nov. 18-21;
Nigeria, Nov. 21-24;
Kenya, Nov. 25; and
Uganda, Nov. 25-27.
IFC field office contacts are as follows:
Senegal, Mr. Souleymane Traore, Tel. (22-1) 8229-561

Mali and Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Luciano Borin, Tel. (22-5) 44 32 44

Nigeria, Mr. Akbar Husain, Tel. (234-1) 269-0434

Kenya, Mr. Michael Hooper, Tel. (254-2) 260-343

Uganda, Mr. Dan Kasirye, Tel. (256-41) 242-149