Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, December 22,
2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is looking to increase
its development impact in conflict-affected Cote d’Ivoire by supporting
projects in agribusiness, global manufacturing and services, health and
education, infrastructure, and oil, gas and mining, where developmental
impact can be greatest.
IFC Vice President Thierry Tanoh said
during his first official visit to the country in that capacity that IFC
will seek opportunities to support World Bank program-related policy dialogue
and institutional reform, through investments and advisory services related
to production, processing, and marketing in sectors critical to the economy,
In a sign of its renewed commitment,
IFC recently signed a trade finance agreement with Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire,
as part of a larger investment package agreed upon with ECI’s parent,
Ecobank Transnational Inc., a pan-African banking group with a presence
in over 25 countries in West, Central and East Africa. The agreement will
provide a trade finance guarantee of up to $5 million for ECI.
Tanoh, accompanied by IFC’s new Director
for West and Central Africa, Yolande Duhem, met with businesspeople and
key government officials, including the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent
Gbagbo, and Prime Minister Guillaume Kigbafori Soro.
“The private sector will play an increasingly
important role in creating jobs and reducing poverty in post-conflict Cote
d’Ivoire," Tanoh said. "IFC will work with the government of
Cote d’Ivoire to help create a business environment more suitable for
private sector investment to help build a vibrant and inclusive economy."
Tanoh and members of Cote d’Ivoire’s
government and private sector also discussed potential partnerships with
local banks to increase their lending to small and medium enterprises as
well as developing financial products to support the microfinance and small
business sectors. Cote d’Ivoire ranked 161 out of 181 countries in the
IFC-World Bank Doing Business 2009 report, which lists countries
based on the ease of doing business.
Since it began working in Cote d’Ivoire
in 1963, IFC has mobilized about $336 million in investments. IFC’s total
committed portfolio as of June 30, 2008 is $72.47 million. The largest
investments are a $48.7 million equity investment in the oil-and-gas company
Devon Energy Cote d’Ivoire and a $24 million loan to Azito, an electricity
Cote d’Ivoire was the final stop on
Tanoh’s four-country visit, which also took him to Niger, Mali and Togo
to discuss how IFC advisory services and investments can have the greatest
developmental impact on those economies.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous
year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.