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IFC’s One-Stop Shop for Financing and Servicing Small Firms in Madagascar


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org

In Antananarivo:

Henri E. Rabarijohn

Phone:  + 261 20 225 6000

Fax:       +261 20 223 3338

Email:
Hrabarijohn@ifc.org


ANTANANARIVO/WASHINGTON, D.C., June, 14, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today introduced an entirely novel initiative in its efforts to address Africa’s economic development needs more comprehensively. The first in a planned series of IFC Solutions Centers for Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa was officially inaugurated in Antananarivo, Madagascar, by H.E. Marc Ravalomanana, the Malagasy president.

The Solutions Center reflects IFC’s deep commitment to ensuring that small and medium firms – the bulwark of the private sector in Africa - receive comprehensive solutions to the problems they face, helping to boost private investment-led wealth and job creation in the continent.


IFC’s SME Solutions Center in Madagascar is an integrated delivery platform for servicing and financing small businesses. The center includes a special facility, managed by a partnership with a local financial institution sponsored by IFC, that will provide short- and long-term financing to small businesses. The Solutions Center is also equipped with technology to provide these firms with access to business information, and has advisory capacity to help improve the business environment for small and medium enterprises as well.


Haydée Celaya, IFC Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “IFC’s center will provide Malagasy small and medium enterprises with a one-stop solution in addressing the four key constraints to their optimal growth: better access to finance, better access to information, aiding private sector capacity building, and creating a more enabling business environment.” She added, “IFC hopes that the SME Solutions Center in Antananarivo will serve as a successful prototype for rolling out other centers in the continent.”


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.