WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 9--The President
of the World Bank Group, James Wolfensohn, today officially opened the
Dakar mission of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The new IFC
mission will provide support for business ventures in Cape Verde, The Gambia,
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal.
The mission headed by Mr. Souleymane Traore, a senior investment officer
with significant expertise in the sub-region, will provide small- and medium-sized
enterprises with medium-term financing resources and technical assistance.
In addition, IFC will seek opportunities for investment in the infrastructure,
mining, tourism, and agribusiness sectors.
IFC's presence in Senegal is part of the "Extending IFC's Reach Initiative,"
a program to expand the geographic range of IFC's activities to smaller
and poorer countries and countries undergoing particularly difficult transitions
to market economies. Sixteen countries, or clusters of neighboring countries,
have been selected for the program. A list of countries follows this release.
The Extending IFC's Reach Initiative was established to promote private
sector development in countries where IFC's activity has been severely
constrained as a result of challenging country conditions and obstacles
to private sector activity.
In each of the selected countries, IFC is placing investment staff in the
field to provide an extended IFC presence in the country. Field staff will
cultivate relationships with local entrepreneurs, the financial and legal
communities, government authorities and representatives of other multilateral
and bilateral development institutions. They will work closely with clients
to develop viable projects.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of financing for private sector companies in developing countries.
COUNTRIES TARGETED FOR EXTENDING IFC'S REACH INITIATIVE
Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic
Central Africa: (Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea,
Ethiopia and Eritrea
Guyana and Eastern Caribbean: (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada,
St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia)
Senegal and Western Africa (Mauritania, Mali, The Gambia, Guinea, Cape
West Bank and Gaza