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IFC to Step Up Activities in Uganda, Supporting Small Businesses and Large Projects


In Kampala:
Steven Shalita

Phone: + 256 41 430 2236

E-mail:
sshalita@worldbank.org

Johannesburg
:

Houtan Bassiri

Phone: +27 11 731 3179

E-mail:
hbassiri@ifc.org


Kampala, November 28, 2007 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, aims to increase its investment and advisory services activities in Uganda, focusing on financial market development, infrastructure, and agribusiness, as it strives to improve the business environment and help support a more sustainable private sector in the country.

At a briefing with reporters at the end of a two-day visit, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell affirmed IFC’s strengthened ties with the country and commitment to helping the private sector create jobs and growth. Thunell’s agenda included meetings with the Minister of Finance Ezra Suruma, and representatives of the private sector. He also visited the Bujagali Hydropower Project at Jinja, to which IFC has committed $130 million. Thunell’s visit was capped by a meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.


“IFC is working with companies across a variety of sectors to promote private sector innovation and best practices in Uganda,” Thunell said. “We will continue to build our business with a diverse range of financial products and advisory services to meet client needs and ensure a stronger development impact.”


IFC’s strategy in Uganda is to provide innovative investment and advisory solutions for small businesses and large projects. The overall objective is for IFC to have a positive and sustainable impact on the country’s development.


IFC is helping Uganda address its housing needs through a special mortgage funding program. IFC will also provide advisory services to develop the housing finance sector and expand its services to include more banks and the Housing Finance Company of Uganda.

Infrastructure is a major impediment to growth, and IFC will work to attract more private investment into this sector. IFC is helping Uganda reduce its number of economically crippling power cuts through the investment in Bujagali. IFC has also committed $32 million to help rehabilitate and expand the Kenya-Uganda Railways, and has advised the government on attracting private investment into the telecommunications sector.

Thunell emphasized that Uganda’s strong prospects for growth could be further enhanced by improvements in the investment climate. Doing business in the country remains difficult, and Uganda ranked 118 out of 178 countries in the recently released IFC-World Bank Doing Business report.

IFC is helping Uganda improve its business environment by addressing the constraints to developing local micro, small, and medium enterprises. It will support three types of programs: access to finance, business development services, and the business enabling environment.


About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.