WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2001—Peter
Woicke—Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation
and Managing Director of the World Bank Group for private sector development—will
travel to South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia from March 18 to 23, 2001.
Mr. Woicke will take a first-hand look at IFC’s investment and advisory
work and consult with government and industry leaders. IFC is the
largest financier of private investment in sub-Saharan Africa and has supported
more projects in Africa than in any other region of the world. The
trip underlines the importance and continuing commitment that IFC attaches
to its work in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Woicke’s visit to Southern
Africa is the first of three planned to Africa for this year and will be
followed by trips to Western and Eastern Africa over the next several months.
IFC’s total committed portfolio in Africa as of fiscal year 2000 was US$1.2
billion in 318 projects. IFC approved $1.2 billion in 80 projects
in 25 African countries last year.
In Africa, IFC’s strategic priorities aimed at stimulating the private
sector include building domestic financial markets and institutions; developing
physical infrastructure through privatization and investment; promoting
indigenous entrepreneurship through supporting small and medium enterprises
(SMEs); and investing in projects based on information and communications
technology. For more details on IFC’s Africa strategy and experience
please look at “Building the Private Sector in Africa” (http://www.ifc.org/publications/pubs/afripaper/english/english.html).
IFC plans to expand its support to the SME sector by wholesaling
its financing through local financial intermediaries and by building business
linkages between small enterprises and larger more mature businesses.
IFC’s Technical Assistance Trust Funds program, financed through bilateral
agreements with donor countries, has in the past decade implemented 149
technical assistance assignments costing approximately $13 million. Technical
assistance to SMEs is provided through a broad array of programs co-sponsored
by IFC and donor agencies, including the Africa Project Development Facility,
which assists African entrepreneurs in formulating project proposals and
in raising local and foreign financing; the African Management Services
Company, which strengthens African enterprises by providing experienced
managers and training local teams; and Enterprise Support Services for
Africa, which provides post-financing support and managerial and technical
Mr. Woicke will be accompanied by Joseph O’Keefe, IFC’s newly appointed
Manager for Corporate Relations. They will be joined by Michael Tiller,
IFC’s Regional Manager for IFC’s Southern Africa hub office, who is based
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty
and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments
in emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
N.B.: IFC Fact Sheets for South Africa, Mozambique,
and Namibia will provide details of IFC’s program in those countries.
(Please see links below).