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IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell Visits Morocco on First Official Trip to the Region


In Rabat:

Mounia Tagma
Telephone: 00212 37652479
mtagma@ifc.org

Riham Mustafa
Telephone: 0020 10 2247482
E-mails: rmustafa@ifc.org


Rabat, 8 December, 2006 - Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, completed today a two-day visit to Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco, part of his first official trip to the Middle East and North Africa region since joining IFC in January 2006.

The visit highlights IFC’s continuing commitment to its well-established partnership with Morocco as well as to private sector development, poverty reduction, and employment creation throughout the region. Thunell’s agenda plans included meetings with government officials and consultations with representatives from the local private sector and civil society.  During his visit, he was accompanied by Michael Essex, IFC’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.


“Morocco has tremendous potential,” Thunell said. “IFC can do its part by supporting further development of the private sector, which is the vital engine of economic growth and jobs.”

In fiscal 2006, IFC’s investments in Morocco reached $55.9 million for three projects, including investments in Viola Water International, the Maghreb Private Equity Fund II, and the country’s fourth microfinance institution, Fondep.  The equity fund is expected to enhance the competitiveness of leading companies in the Maghreb region by providing equity and other value-added services to small and medium enterprises and transferring strategic and operational skills to local entrepreneurs. IFC’s partial guarantee to Fondep provides long-term sustainable financing to help the institution maximize its operations through a network of 43 agencies, reaching more than 45,000 active beneficiaries across the country. Over the last 30 years IFC has contributed about $1 billion to support the development of private sector in Morroco.

In addition, 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 projects in the country. The facility has gained a solid reputation in providing technical assistance and advisory services to Morocco’s banks, including disseminating best practices in lending to small and medium enterprises. PEP-MENA has also been working with the government to improve the business environment for private sector development.

About IFC

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.

About PEP-MENA

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.