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IFC to Expand Technical Assistance in Middle East and North Africa


Ahmed Badawi-Malik
Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:     +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2004 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced the approval of the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (PEP-MENA), a technical assistance facility to support private sector development in the region.

The facility will absorb the operations of IFC’s two existing technical assistance programs in the region, in consultation with current donors. These are the North Africa Enterprise Development (NAED) facility, which covers Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco, and mandated to cover the small and medium enterprises, and the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), which covers Afghanistan, Iraq, West Bank and Gaza and Yemen.


The new PEP-MENA facility, headquartered in Cairo is earmarked to receive start-up funding of $20 million from IFC for three years. PEP-MENA will be able to cover all countries in the Middle East and North Africa region; stretching as far west as Morocco, to Pakistan in the east.


PEP-MENA will also provide a larger menu of technical assistance activities than its predecessors. The new facility will center on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment, strengthening the financial sector, harnessing the growth of small and medium size enterprises and their support services such as business organizations and consulting firms, helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises, and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure. PEP-MENA is expected to seek up to $80 million in additional contributions from other donors, and its operations are due to begin October 1, 2004.


Peter Woicke, executive vice president said, “Bolstering private sector development throughout the Middle East and North Africa is key not only to generate much needed investment and technology inflows, but most importantly to create more job opportunities for the young people of the region.” He added, “IFC’s technical assistance operations in the Middle East and North Africa region will draw on its knowledge of the region, will replicate the successful programs launched by NAED, and will also benefit from the approaches that IFC has used very effectively elsewhere.”


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.