Freetown, Sierra Leone, June 1, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today opened an office in Sierra Leone
to expand support for the conflict-affected country’s economic recovery
by helping improve the investment climate, strengthen the domestic financial
sector, and increase private participation in infrastructure.
The new office, inaugurated by IFC’s Vice President for Business Advisory
Services, Rachel Kyte, demonstrates IFC’s commitment to support development
in Sierra Leone by providing strategic advice on doing business and by
investing in private sector companies in the country. The new office is
at 13 Lamina Sankoh Street in the central business district of Freetown.
“IFC is committed to doing more to improve the business climate and to
boost investments in Sierra Leone,” Kyte said. “We have now opened an
office and are appointing new staff to execute our expanded portfolio in
the country. In the face of the current global economic crisis, IFC’s
commitment to Africa is stronger than ever. It is critical that emerging
economies like Sierra Leone are provided the support needed to grow their
private sector and to position themselves as preferred investment destinations.”
The opening was attended by several government officials, representatives
of the private sector, development partners, and the media. Rachel Kyte
is the most senior IFC officer to visit Sierra Leone. During the visit,
she will also meet with various officials in the government and the private
sector to discuss current and new IFC initiatives.
IFC’s $10 million advisory services program in Sierra Leone is cofunded
by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. At the
invitation of the Sierra Leone government, IFC is advising it on appropriate
actions to create a better business and investment climate. The advisory
support has resulted in a number of reforms that are beginning to have
a notable effect on the cost, procedures, and time of doing business.
IFC has also invested $28 million in Sierra Leone’s telecommunications
and financial services industries, which are key development sectors for
the country. IFC is currently developing working strategies to increase
its investment portfolio in manufacturing and services, agribusiness, health,
education, infrastructure, and financial markets.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.