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IFC Chief Peter Woicke Visits Serbia and Montenegro, July 11 - 13, 2004


In Washington, D.C.:
Georg Schmidt

Phone: +1 (202) 458 2934
Fax:      +1 (202) 974 4384

Email:    
Gschmidt@ifc.org

In Belgrade
:

Roberto Albisetti

Phone: + (38111) 3023 760

Fax:     + (38111) 3023 733

Email:
Ralbisetti@ifc.org


Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro, July 12, 2004—Peter Woicke, head of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, is visiting Serbia and Montenegro July 11 – 13. Mr. Woicke is also a World Bank Managing Director.

“My visit underlines the importance IFC attaches to its work in Serbia and Montenegro,” said Mr. Woicke. He added, “IFC’s main goal in Serbia and Montenegro is to support sustainable private sector development. IFC will help restructure the corporate sector, advance privatization, and attract more foreign direct investors.”


Mr. Woicke will call on Serbian Prime Minister Kostunica, Deputy Prime Minister Labus, and Minister of Finance Dinkic. In Montenegro, he will meet Prime Minister Djukanovic, Finance Minister Luksic, Economic Minister Uskokovic, and Deputy Prime Minister Ivanisevic. Mr. Woicke will also see Governor Jelasic of Serbia’s central bank as well as key business representatives.


While in Belgrade, Mr. Woicke will be the guest of honor at the official ceremony marking the 120th anniversary of the National Bank of Serbia. He will also attend a discussion forum on sustainable private sector development together with leading business representatives. In Podgorica, he will sign an agreement with the government of Montenegro to convert 3 million euro of debt into shares of Podgoricka Bank prior to privatization and to assume repayment obligations for the remaining portion of the debt. Mr. Woicke will also sign a protocol with Opportunity Bank Montenegro on a 4 million euro investment to support the bank’s microfinance and SME lending.


IFC’s strategic priorities in Serbia and Montenegro will include an expansion of activities in the financial and general manufacturing sectors. In the financial sector, IFC aims to facilitate foreign investments, assist in bank and insurance privatisation, and develop non-bank financial intermediaries. In the real sector, IFC will broaden the scope of its investments and assist the government in attracting private investments in the energy, telecommunications, and infrastructure sectors. In addition, IFC will continue to provide technical assistance on a broad scale to help build institutions and prepare for further investments.


During fiscal years 2002 and 2003, IFC committed $42 million in Serbia and Montenegro, including investments in ProCredit Bank (formerly MicroFinance Bank), Raiffeisenbank, Tigar Michelin Holding tire manufacturer, and Micro Enterprise Bank of Kosovo. IFC has also invested in two regional equity funds, Bancroft and Poteza. With over 20 projects, the donor-funded technical assistance program has become IFC’s third largest, supporting feasibility studies, company restructurings, and private-public partnerships. Small and medium enterprises are targeted especially by the Southeast Europe Enterprise Development facility, an IFC-led multidonor consultancy that has supported supply-chain development and the introduction of leasing in Serbia.


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 FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.