Maputo, November 22, 2007 — Improving
infrastructure, supporting smaller businesses, and creating a more favorable
environment for investments are high priorities for IFC as it strives to
expand its development impact in Mozambique, IFC Executive Vice President
and CEO Lars Thunell told reporters at the end of his first visit to the
The two-day visit highlighted IFC’s
commitment to its well-established partnership with Mozambique. Thunell
met with government officials, development partners, local private sector
representatives, and several IFC clients.
“Mozambique’s strong economic growth
provides an encouraging example of how the private sector supports development
and helps reduce poverty,” Thunell said. “IFC is well placed to support
business and policy objectives that meet the country’s challenges, and
innovate to invest in more projects and sectors.”
IFC’s strategy in Mozambique focuses
on mobilizing direct investment to economy’s key sectors, including tourism,
mining, energy, and financial services. IFC also aims to strengthen access
to finance for the private sector, help develop infrastructure, and improve
the investment climate. IFC Advisory Services programs focus on areas such
as increasing the linkages between large investments and the local economy
and increasing private sector awareness of HIV/AIDS issues.
IFC has several programs in place to
support small and medium enterprises in Mozambique, including the Mozambique
SME Initiative, a $12 million program supported by the Swiss and Finnish
governments. The program provides financing and advisory services to the
country’s small and medium companies with the aim of creating a more viable
private sector and attracting investors to the small business sector. Under
the program, long-term funding to companies can be up to $1 million, combined
with hands-on partnership and support in key business functions, including
marketing, management, human resources, and information technology.
Earlier today, Thunell launched the
MozLink manual (Developing SMEs through Business Linkages – The MozLink
Experience Version 1.0). In it, Mozal and IFC present a framework
tested by the large aluminum smelter and step-by-step practical guidance
on how to replicate the MozLink experience to create competitive small
and medium enterprises that can be integrated into the supply chains of
large companies. IFC recently expanded the number of large corporate partners
in its Mozlink program from one to five. The program aims to link 100 local
small and medium enterprises to the supply chains of large companies to
expand opportunities for local businesses.
IFC is considering other programs to
boost smaller businesses in the country, including support to financial
institutions to increase their lending to the sector and microfinance initiatives.
Earlier this month, IFC recognized Mozambique
was one of the top five reformers in Africa based on the Doing Business
2008 report, an annual publication by IFC and the World Bank. Mozambique
replaced legislation dating from 1888 with a new commercial code that introduces
stricter corporate governance rules and strengthens the rights of minority
shareholders. The new code also modernizes the business registration process,
cutting provisional registration and making notaries optional. Start-up
time for new firms fell by almost three months, while specialized judges
for commercial cases should improve court efficiency.
Despite these improvements, Mozambique
still ranks number 134 out of 178 on the ease of doing business. IFC is
working closely with the government to make additional reforms that will
improve the environment for businesses.
Since its first investment in 1986,
IFC has committed $208 million for its own account, to 22 projects in Mozambique.
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,