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
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
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.