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Peter Woicke, Head of IFC and Managing Director of the World Bank, Visits Central America


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez

Phone (202) 458 5204

Email:
agomez@ifc.org


·        Will visit El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, May 3-6, 2005

San Salvador, El Salvador, Monday May 3, 2004.—
Peter Woicke, head of the International Finance Corporation and Managing Director of the World Bank, arrived today in El Salvador for a four-day visit to Central America that will include Honduras and Nicaragua.


“My return to Central America underlines the importance IFC attaches to its partnership with this region,” said Mr. Woicke.  He added, “IFC wants to support

Central American countries as they work to  increase their competitiveness in the face of accelerating globalization. IFC’s support comes at a key moment, as the recently signed Central America Free Trade Agreement is creating new opportunities and challenges for the private sector and the governments of the region,” he noted.


IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, promotes sustainable private sector enterprise in developing countries. IFC makes loans and equity investments in private sector projects, mobilizes finance from global capital markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides investment advisory services to governments.


During his visit, Mr. Woicke will meet top government officials, IFC’s current and potential clients, and key players in civil society, to exchange views on how IFC can help Central American countries reach their development goals and build a vibrant, responsible, and competitive private sector.  Mr. Woicke’s last visit took place in June 1999.


In El Salvador, Mr. Woicke will meet President-Elect Antonio Saca. He will visit IFC clients and prospective partners, including Banco Agricola, Banco Cuscatlán, Pro Credit El Salvador (previously known as Calpia) , Grupo Poma and other key private sector players. He will also meet with local and regional NGOs as part of IFC’s dialogue with stakeholders on the social and environmental impact of economic development.


In Honduras, Mr. Woicke will meet President Ricardo Maduro, other government officials, and IFC partner CABEI.


In Nicaragua, he will meet President Enrique Bolaños and the president of the Central Bank, Mr. Mario Alonso.  He will also visit, Pro Credit Nicaragua (previously known as Confia) and other key private sector players.


IFC's strategy in Central America focuses on encouraging economic growth, in
particular by developing the region’s financial and physical infrastructure and supporting competitive manufacturing and services companies.  


IFC's investment in financial institutions in Central America is key to IFC’s strategy to promote the region’s financial integration and increase the depth and soundness of its financial systems. Other priorities include promoting access to term financing by micro, small and medium enterprises; supporting competitive firms in agriculture, industry and services; and promoting investments from other Latin American countries into Central America.


IFC's committed financing in Latin America and the Caribbean amounted to $2.18 billion in fiscal 2003 for 54 projects over 16 countries, its highest level of investment in any region.


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. From its founding in 1956 through 2003, 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 2003 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.