Washington, D.C. February 2, 2005—The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, will provide a $2.1 million loan (equivalent to €1.74 million)
to Mali’s leading printing firm, Graphique Industrie S.A. IFC financing
will support the company’s expansion and modernization program.
The project will benefit Mali’s educational system, by providing better
quality schoolbooks. The printing and editing of schoolbooks has previously
been limited to the country’s Ministry of Education, until the recent
liberalization of the sector.
The company will diversify its market base by increasing the portion of
higher value-added products sold to private businesses, thus reducing reliance
on government. The company will also improve its environmental and
safety standards. IFC’s participation was essential in completing
the $5.2 million financing plan for the project, since long-term financing
is not easily available from the local capital market.
Dimitris Tsitstiragos, Director of IFC's Global Manufacturing and Services
Department, noted, “This is the second time in three years that IFC has
supported the development plans of Graphique Industrie. This repeat
investment shows IFC’s commitment as a long-term partner. It also
demonstrates IFC’s confidence in the company’s prospects, thus sending
a positive signal to other potential lenders.”
IFC investment in Graphique Industrie fits well the Corporation's strategy
of supporting small and medium-size enterprises in Mali. SMEs are key drivers
of the Mali’s economic growth and account for most of the private sector
firms in the country. IFC's investment portfolio in Mali is spread
across sectors including tourism, printing, transportation, and mining.
The mission of IFC (http://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 FY04, IFC has committed
more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications
for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed
portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion
held for participants in loan syndications.