Cairo May 29, 2006— The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) the private sector arm of the World Bank Group,
today convened a conference to discuss integrated responses to Avian
Influenza (AI) between the private and public sector.
According to the World Health Organization
(WHO) several people have died in the country after exposure to diseased
birds, and the poultry industry has been severely hit after thousands of
poultry and birds were found to be infected by the H5N1 virus responsible
‘For some time now, IFC has been proactively
monitoring its poultry portfolio for the AI threat. We have been
working with our client companies on the implementation of biosecurity
measures designed to minimize the risk of operations. We also work
with them to audit their AI protocols, review their contingency plans and
individual risk assessments of the AI threat. However, we are now
looking beyond only risk management of IFC poultry projects and are
working more broadly to address the challenges faced by business and the
general public.’ Said Macodou Ndaw, IFC’s Associate Director
A key component of IFC’s initiative
is to bridge the knowledge gap between the government and all players in
the industry, with a specific focus on the private sector. By bringing
all the stakeholders together, IFC hopes to create a platform to share
valuable operational and commercial lessons, views on private-public sector
partnerships, and implications for the public at large.
‘The responsibility of ensuring human
health and the protection of our poultry industry is not government’s
alone and so we truly welcome this opportunity to meet with other stakeholders
and to share collective experience and approaches. In Egypt,
we have seen some level of success with the interventions we have
implemented so far, particularly with regards to active surveillance of
poultry at its source. We hope that with the support of development
agencies and the private sector we can have an even more integrated response
to Avian Influenza in our country.” Said Dr Amr Kandeel, Director
of the National Infection Control program.
IFC aims to complement the work of other
agencies and organizations working on responses to Avian Influenza by assisting
commercial operations to specifically tackle prevention and preparedness
as well as response and containment, through AI contingency plans.
“The World Bank Group has been extremely
responsive to the needs of the Egyptian government. Our poultry industry
is worth about $ 3bn and employs approximately 1.5 million people and so
it is imperative that we continue to urgently seek ways to resolve the
issue of Avian Influenza. We have recognized that one way to widen
the work we have already began with our partners is to focus even more
strongly on communication and co-operation between all stakeholders”,
Said Ms Mona Mehrez- Aly, Head of the central laboratory in the Ministry
About Avian Flu
Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A
strains of the influenza virus. The disease occurs worldwide. While all
birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza viruses,
many wild bird species carry these viruses with no apparent signs of harm.
Other bird species, including domestic poultry, develop disease when
infected with avian influenza viruses.
The Ministry of Health in Egypt recently confirmed the country’s 14th
case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case occurred
in a 75-year-old woman from the Al Minya governorate. She developed symptoms
on 11 May and died on 18 May. As with all other cases in Egypt, her infection
has been linked to exposure to diseased birds. Of the 14 cases in
Egypt, six have been fatal.
Socio- Economic Impacts
Once domestic birds
are infected, avian influenza outbreaks can be difficult to control and
often cause major economic impacts for poultry farmers in affected countries,
since mortality rates are high and infected fowl generally must be destroyed
-- the technical term is "culled" -- in order to prevent the
spread of the disease. The impact can be devastating to local economies
and to both commercial poultry operations and industry.
The International Finance Corporation
(IFC) is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered
in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other
institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.
Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable
private sector investment in developing and transition 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49
billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held
for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit