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IFC VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL TO VISIT BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA AND FYR MACEDONIA June 2-11


Julia Zilberman
Phone: (202) 473-7986
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jzilberman@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 1998 --- Ms. Carol Lee, Vice President & General Counsel of the International Finance Corporation will visit Bosnia-Herzegovina and FYR Macedonia from June 2 to June 11. During her stay she will meet with national and local government officials and business leaders to discuss private sector development and priorities for the two countries, and sign new investment agreements in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

During her six-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ms. Lee will meet Federation Prime Minister Mr. Edhem Bicakcic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Drago Bilandzija, Governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia-Herzegovina Mr. Peter Nicholl, and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska Mr. Djurad Banjac.


IFC is seeking to play an important role in Bosnia-Herzegovina as one of the very few sources of long-term finance. IFC priorities for the country include the development of the small and medium-sized enterprise sector, the financial sector and the reconstruction and privatization of the wood processing sector. In addition, IFC has developed a total of nine technical assistance projects financed from Japanese, Italian, Israeli and Norwegian Trust Funds to help enterprises build and expand their businesses, develop management capacity, improve financial auditing and legal practices, and develop a new financial institution, the MicroEnterprise Bank.


In the course of the visit, IFC will sign the Wood Agency Agreement on June 3, 1998 to establish a pilot agency credit line totaling DM 25 million
(US$14 million equivalent) to benefit an estimated 8-12 medium-sized wood processing and furniture manufacturing enterprises.

Ms. Lee will travel to Macedonia on June 7. While in Macedonia, Ms. Lee will meet with the Minister of Economy Mr. Boris Rikalovski, Minister of Finance Mr. Taki Fiti, and Prime Minister Mr. Branko Crvenkovski to discuss IFC’s efforts to assist the development of Macedonia’s private sector.


IFC began investing in the Macedonian private sector in FY97, and has approved six projects in the country to date, totaling US$53.5 million in financing for its own account. In addition, Macedonia is among the countries in the "Extending IFC’s Reach" initiative, a special program through which IFC helps bring private investment to regions and countries where the Corporation’s activities have been constrained by challenging conditions.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.