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.