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EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF IFC VISITS ALBANIA, FYR MACEDONIA AND TURKEY OCT. 11-15 1999


Brigid Janssen
Phone: (202) 458-4698
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: bjanssen@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 1999 — The Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, Peter Woicke, will travel to Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey to visit sites of IFC's current projects and consider areas where future investment can provide the best boost to development of the local private sector.
Mr. Woicke will stop first in Albania (Oct. 11-12), where IFC recently invested in Fefad, once a non-profit foundation that IFC's investment helped to make a full-fledged financial institution, providing financing to microenterprises. In another initiative to build the private sector, IFC is establishing a special facility, which it will manage, to support small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Balkans. IFC arranged the largest syndication that has ever been assembled in Albania, for the US$275 million Patos Marinza Oilfield rehabilitation project. IFC is involved in the refurbishment of a once state-owned manufacturing plant that has become a growth locomotive for the region, creating new and better jobs for local people. Mr. Woicke will talk with business and policy-making communities in Tirana.
FYR Macedonia
has suffered a severe economic downturn in the past year as a result of the Kosovo crisis. IFC's strategy is to rekindle economic growth by providing funding and assistance to the country's private industrial and financial sectors. IFC recently approved financing to the first equity fund in FYR Macedonia, designed to invest exclusively in smaller businesses. IFC is closely involved in completing the privatization of Stopanska Banka, one of the largest banks in FYR Macedonia. It has also invested in industries that will earn foreign exchange and create jobs in a country that is battling a high unemployment rate, and it has a solid pipeline of projects ranging from industrial and financial to agribusiness. Development of critical infrastructure is another priority, through investments such as IFC's $25 million convertible loan to help Macedonian Telecommunications modernize in order to prepare for its privatization. Mr. Woicke's trip (Oct. 13-14) will include visits to investment partners at Teteks, a textiles maker, and Alkaloid, a pharmaceuticals company. In Skopje, he will hold meetings with senior government officials.
In Turkey , Mr. Woicke will meet (Oct. 15-16) with entrepreneurs and bankers in Istanbul to gain a perspective on how IFC can best help to work with a resilient private sector to build exports and remove obstacles to expanding business. IFC has been one of the few sources of long-term project finance in Turkey, particularly for second-tier firms. It has been an important catalyst in rebuilding the banking system, for example by providing the first syndicated loan for a Turkish bank after the economic crisis there in 1994, and devising innovative ways for Turkish banks to access new sources of capital. Assistance to help Turkish firms invest in neighboring countries is a current IFC priority. The investment outlook for Turkey will be affected by the recent earthquake, which caused damage that is estimated at between $6 billion and $9 billion. IFC is establishing a $50 million relief facility through private Turkish banks to provide working capital to firms hit by the quake to resume operations.
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.
Mr. Woicke will meet journalists in each country. For further information please contact:

       
Elira Sakiqi Albania (355-42) 30017
       
Rozita Jovanovska FYR Macedonia (389-91) 117-159
       
S. Balasubramanian Turkey (90-212) 212-6535
       
Sujata Lamba Albania/Turkey (202) 473-0556 (slamba@ifc.org)
       
Esteban Altschul FYR Macedonia (202) 473-5336 (ealtschul@ifc.org)