Press Releases

IFC Partners with Nigerian Entrepreneurship Program to Promote Small Business Development in Niger Delta

L. Joseph
Phone: (202) 473-7700

Fax: (202) 974-4384


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 ( 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 businesses.

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 programs there.

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.