Algiers, December 6, 2006—Lars
Thunell, Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation,
completed today a visit to Algeria, during which he emphasized private
sector development as the most important engine of growth and job creation.
The two-day visit highlights IFC’s continuing commitment to its well-established
partnership with Algeria. Thunell met with government officials and representatives
from the local private sector. He was accompanied by Michael Essex, IFC’s
director for the region.
“IFC is committed to helping Algeria realize its strong potential for
private sector growth,” said Thunell. “We are working with the government,
the World Bank, and other partners to improve the climate for private sector
investment and create economic opportunities for the people of Algeria.”
In the coming months IFC will also focus on assisting the privatization
process and developing the financial sector. Efforts will include
improving the availability of financial services to small and medium enterprises,
encouraging private sector participation in infrastructure, and supporting
the local private sector through investment and advisory services.
In fiscal year 2006, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group,
increased its investments in Algeria to $34 million, up from no projects
during the previous fiscal year. IFC made a $12 million investment in the
Maghreb Private Equity Fund II, which is expected to enhance the competitiveness
of leading companies in the Maghreb region by providing equity and other
value-added services to smaller businesses as well as transferring strategic
and operational skills to local entrepreneurs. Highlights from IFC’s portfolio
include Arab Leasing Corporation, Algeria’s first leasing company and
Arab Banking Cooperation Algeria.
IFC’s technical assistance facility for the region, the Private Enterprise
Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, is also involved in a
number of technical assistance mandates in the country, mainly to promote
the small and medium enterprise sector and improve the business environment
for private sector development.
Thunell started his visit to the region in Egypt and is scheduled to end
his trip in Morocco.
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 http://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.