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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., January 27, 1999 --- On his first field visit since becoming Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, Peter Woicke will travel to Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya from February 3 to 17, 1999.

Mr. Woicke, who took office January 1, will take a first-hand look at IFC's investment and advisory work across Africa 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 notwithstanding the many new requests worldwide for IFC investments in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.


The committed portfolio in Africa rose 22 percent in fiscal year 1998 to US$916 million in 287 projects.  IFC approved $679 million in 81 projects in 23 African countries last year.  In Africa, IFC focuses on financing private investments, capacity building (i.e., provision of business services and advisory expertise), and strengthening the environment for private sector development.


IFC's involvement in Africa ranges from financing of privatized companies and development of domestic financial markets to investments in private infrastructure, extractive and manufacturing industries, tourism, agro-industry, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


IFC has invested a total of $162 million for 268 small business projects in 30 African countries.  Additional technical assistance to SMEs is provided through a broad array of programs, which are co-sponsored by IFC and leading donor agencies.  These include 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 Cesare Calari, IFC's Africa Director and Mark Constantine, Manager of Corporate Relations.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.  In 1997, IFC introduced the Africa Business Network, a website dedicated to African private sector issues at http://www.ifc.org/abn.


Journalists who would like further information on Mr. Woicke's trip or briefing on IFC's work in Africa should contact Ludi Joseph at (202) 473-7700 or e-mail her at ljoseph@ifc.org.  The dates for Mr. Woicke's visit to each country are: Cote d'Ivoire, February 3-5; South Africa, February 6-9; Mozambique, February 10-11; Tanzania, February 12-13; and Kenya, February 14-17.




©1999, International Finance Corporation


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