WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17 -- The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced the signing of an agreement between
the Government of Gabon and IFC for the privatization of the provision
of water and electricity services in Gabon.
Water and electricity are provided by Société d'Energie et d'Eau du Gabon
(SEEG) which has the exclusive concession for production, transportation,
and distribution of both water and electricity in Gabon. It has approximately
84,000 customers for electricity and 43,000 for water.
IFC will act as lead advisor to the Government of Gabon for the preparation
and implementation of the privatization process. This will be the first
significant privatization in Gabon and one of the first privatizations
of electricity and water services in sub-Saharan Africa.
"The privatization of the provision of water and electricity services
is part of a wider government initiative to restructure and privatize most
of the Gabonese public enterprises," said Philippe Lietard, Director
of IFC's Corporate Finance Services Department. "The privatization
of water and electricity services will be a critical step toward the implementation
of this program, and it could serve as a model for privatization throughout
"We believe IFC is the most able to play the role of an independent
adviser, widely accepted from a political standpoint," said Mr. André
Dieudonne Berre, Gabonese Minister of Privatization. "Additionally,
we were impressed by IFC's successful track record in the restructuring
and privatization of power and water companies."
The privatization will be carried out in two phases, a preparation phase
and a implementation phase. During the preparation phase IFC will define
the divestiture strategy and review the existing legal framework. The implementation
phase will consist of identifying suitable investors, supervising the bidding
process, and assisting in negotiations and transaction closing. A significant
portion of this advisory work is being financed by the Government of Japan
through the Japan/IFC Comprehensive Trust Fund.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing
countries. IFC also provides advisory services to government clients covering
privatization and private sector corporate restructurings.