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IFC CHIEF VISITS AFRICA


L. Joseph
Phone:  (202) 473-7700

Fax:      (202) 974-4384

E-mail:  
ljoseph@ifc.org


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 support.


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 in Johannesburg.


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).


http://www.ifc.org/factsheets/Factsheets/SouthAfrica-mar01.pdf

http://www.ifc.org/factsheets/Factsheets/Mozambique-mar01.pdf

http://www.ifc.org/factsheets/Factsheets/Namibia-mar01.pdf