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IFC MAKES FIRST INVESTMENT IN SYRIA


Jannette Esguerra
Phone: (202) 458-5204
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jesguerra@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16, 1999 — The International Finance Corporation today approved its first project in Syria in an irrigation technology company which designs and manufactures systems that address the critical problem of water scarcity in the Middle East.
IFC will make a US$1 million equity investment in Arab Drip Irrigation Technology Company Ltd. (Adritec Syria), an affiliate of Adritec Group International (AGI), a regional holding company with affiliates in several Arab countries that specializes in the production and supply of irrigation equipment and systems.
The project marks the beginning of IFC's investment operations in Syria, and is the first World Bank Group project there in 13 years. The Syrian government agreed in 1997 to repay its arrears to the World Bank, opening the way for World Bank Group activities to resume. Mohsen Khalil, Director of IFC's Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa Department said that today's approval paves the way for a broader IFC program to promote the role of the private sector in Syria by demonstrating the benefits of a conducive environment for private investments. He added that the Adritec project addresses a critical strategic issue for the region — the conservation of water resources — by furthering the use of advanced irrigation technology.
The investment in Adritec will finance new production facilities at the company's site in Latakia, expanding and upgrading water-conserving irrigation products and systems, and extending the reach of the company into agricultural markets across the region.
Adritec is a joint venture between AGI and Mr. Assem Suleiman, Managing Director of Suleiman Agricultural Establishments.
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.