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IFC-Sponsored Siwa Oasis Wins World Business Award


In Washington
Lucie Giraud

Phone: +1 (202) 458 4662

Fax: +1 202 294 4701

Email:
lgiraud@ifc.org


New York, May 10, 2006 – The Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative, a project based in Egypt’s Siwa oasis and backed by the International Finance Corporation in 2005 with a $880,000 loan and a $468,000 technical assistance grant, won today a World Business Award for best practice in alleviating poverty. The Siwa project is managed by Environmental Quality International (EQI), which has designed and implemented a number of sustainable commercial ventures in the oasis such as women artisanship.

“This award recognizes the importance of the Siwa initiative,” said Jesper Kjaer, General Manager of IFC’s Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa. “Not only is Siwa a success in itself – by enabling the people to create economic opportunities for themselves while restoring the physical environment and by promoting gender equity – it is also an example replicable in other parts of the country and the world.”

The Siwa project seeks to bring social and economic benefits to the indigenous community while preserving the delicate environmental and cultural balance of the Siwa ecosystem. It empowers the indigenous population, fosters entrepreneurship, and markets the area’s unique biodiversity, historical, and cultural heritage to the outside world.

The World Business Awards are organized by the Internal Chamber of Commerce, in association with the United National Development Programme and The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum.  The awards recognize 10 businesses, large and small, that have deployed breakthrough productive methods to promote sustainable development. This year’s award recipients included business-sponsored projects that provide low-income house in Mexico, comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment in Botswana, and venture capital for small businesses in India.

Founded in 1981, EQI is a partnership company incorporated in Egypt, with affiliate companies in the United States and United Kingdom. It has about 200 employees and has implemented major projects across the Middle East and North Africa. EQI specializes in providing services in environment and natural resources, governance, and enterprise development.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.