Washington, D.C., March 14, 2002—IFC
today announced its partnership with Nigeria’s Fate Foundation in a new
venture to promote entrepreneurship and small business development in the
Niger River Delta region.
IFC’s involvement will help the Fate Foundation—a leading local nonprofit
organization—enter the economically backward Niger River Delta area with
the same integrated package of training, finance, and support services
for business start-ups that it currently operates successfully in Lagos.
The Fate Foundation (www.fatefoundation.org)
was founded in March 2000 by Fola Adeola, managing director of Guaranty
Trust Bank Plc., one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions. Mr.
Adeola worked with local business leaders and the Ford Foundation to offer
new support programs to those who wanted to start their own businesses.
The programs for aspiring entrepreneurs included affordably-priced
training developed with support from the Boston, Massachusetts-based, Center
for Women and Enterprise. Other related initiatives such as a business
incubator and small loan fund were also launched. More than 200 entrepreneurs
have participated in these programs and about 35 operate successful small
Based on the solid initial track record of these programs, IFC is now providing
US$100,000 from its SME Capacity Building Facility (CBF) to help Fate Foundation
expand into the oil-producing Niger River Delta and begin offering similar
Launched in July 2000, CBF is a flexible new quick-response funding instrument
designed to help meet the enormous need for creative new approaches to
assisting small businesses in developing countries. Its goal is to
help the World Bank Group, its partners, and local institutions do more
to serve SMEs, especially by creating sustainable, effective capacity at
the local level.
Harold Rosen, director of the joint IFC-World Bank Department for Small
and Medium Enterprises said, “Supporting the Fate Foundation is part of
our broader global efforts to help strong local service providers widen
their reach into the small business community—efforts that we feel will
ultimately lead to job creation, competitiveness, skills development, and
other widespread benefits. The SME sector has great potential in
the fight against poverty and we see Fate Foundation as just the kind of
organization that can help Nigeria reach its potential.”
IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Its mission
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to 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. From its founding in 1956
through the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2001, IFC committed
more than $31 billion of its own funds and arranged $20 billion in syndications
for 2,636 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s committed
portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.