Douala, Cameroon, November 21, 2003 — Peter
Woicke, executive vice president of the International Finance Corporation,
and managing director of the World Bank Group for Private Sector Development,
will visit Cameroon from November 22 to 25, 2003. IFC is the private sector
arm of the World Bank Group. The visit underlines the importance and continuing
commitment that IFC attaches to its work in Cameroon.
During his visit, Mr. Woicke will share IFC’s new Africa strategy with
clients, government, industry leaders and entrepreneurs and discuss ways
of enhancing IFC’s services and contributions. He will also meet with
government officials to review Cameroon’s private sector development priorities
and discuss critical issues and challenges that the country faces, including
the power crisis.
Mr.Woicke, who will be visiting Cameroon for the first time, said, “I
am pleased to be in Cameroon to experience the country first hand. I look
forward to meeting members of the government and IFC clients and partners
and to sharing our strategy on how we intend to support private sector
development in Cameroon through both our investments and our advisory work.”
Mr. Woicke’s itinerary will include a call on President Biya and meetings
with cabinet members, including the prime minister and the minister for
economic affairs. He will also meet IFC clients, potential clients and
members of the donor community and participate in roundtable discussions
with business associations.
IFC’s strategic priorities in Cameroon include promoting private investment
in infrastructure services, including utilities and telecommunications,
to enhance the quality of services to businesses and the general public
and improve the country’s business climate. Other priorities include increasing
technical, managerial, and financial support to micro, small and medium
enterprises, improving dialogue between the public and the private sector,
and providing financial and technical assistance to microfinance activities
and small businesses.
IFC also works in Cameroon, and throughout Africa, through specialized
facilities such as the Africa Project Development Facility, APDF. APDF
opened an office in Douala in October 2002. The office is helping a business
association to set up an SME Development program. APDF’s strategy focuses
on building the capacity of local intermediaries (consultants, business
associations, and financial institutions) to provide business development
services and financing to SMEs.
IFC also works through AMSCO (African Management Services Company), which
helps strengthen African enterprises by providing experienced managers
and training local management teams.
One of IFC’s most significant projects, and the single largest private
sector investment to date in Sub-Saharan Africa, is the Chad-Cameroon Petroleum
and Pipeline Project. IFC has committed a US$100 million investment in
the project, which involves the development of oil fields in southern Chad
and the construction of a 1,070 km pipeline through Cameroon to a floating
storage and off-loading facility on the Atlantic coast. The project is
expected to generate substantial transit fees and other revenues for Cameroon.
IFC also supports an initiative that focuses on increasing local contractor
involvement. The objective of this initiative is to strengthen the SME
sector by providing assistance to local companies that wish to provide
goods and services during the implementation and operation of the project.
In the telecommunications sector, IFC provided a euro 11.7 million credit
enhancement facility for a FCFA 29 billion (about euro 44.2 million equivalent)
local currency facility and direct financing of Euro 3 million to Orange-Cameroon
(formerly Société Camerounaise de Mobiles). Representing the first credit
enhancement of a local currency loan for a major infrastructure project
in Africa, the loan was structured to maximize the use of local currency
financing, thus encouraging local and regional banks to participate in
long-term project financing as well as increasing the amount of local currency
loans and extending their maturity.
On the SME front, IFC has funded several projects pertaining to education,
agribusiness, and pharmaceutical distribution. These include the Horizon
Bilingual Educational Complex in Douala, Complexe Agricole de Mvong-Besi,
and UC-Pharm, to name a few.
IFC is also working jointly with other international financial institutions
on developing a funding plan for new generation capacity, to be brought
on line by AES Sonel, the Cameroonian power utility. This project aims
to help alleviate the acute power shortages faced by the country.
The mission of IFC 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 FY03, 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 FY03 was
$16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants
in loan syndications.