Dubai, November 17, 2009—IFC, a
member of the World Bank Group, today asserted that strategic investments
in Gulf Cooperation Council countries can strengthen financial markets
and promote economic development in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Our investments in the Gulf Cooperation Council capital markets create
opportunities across the region while providing productive outlets for
excess savings generated by oil-producing countries,” said Lars Thunell,
IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, at a news conference in Dubai.
Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai International Finance Centre
Authority said: “IFC’s investments, expertise and knowledge of best practices
will help develop both the Sukuk market and capital markets in the region.
We look forward to continue promoting an enabling business environment
to help IFC advance its objectives.”
On November 3, IFC became the first non-Islamic financial institution to
issue a Sukuk for term funding in the Gulf Cooperation Council. IFC plans
to issue Sukuks every 12 to 18 months.
The IFC Sukuk was oversubscribed and pricing was at 15 basis points over
Mid Swaps, the tightest pricing for a Sukuk so far. There were 15 orders
and 90 percent of the demand came from institutional investors in the Middle
IFC selectively invests in the Gulf Cooperation Council to support the
development of financial markets, regional integration and private sector
development in the Middle East and North Africa. IFC also promotes south-south
investment from Gulf Cooperation Council countries to developing markets.
“Over the last three years, IFC has invested $1.5 billion alongside Gulf
investors in their intraregional investments,” said Thunell.
The IFC Sukuk is a five-year, dollar–denominated, non-amortizing issue
with total face value of $100 million. It is backed by a portfolio of IFC
projects, structured as Islamic-compliant financial leases, with comparable
“The Arab world is a priority for the World Bank Group, and addressing
unemployment in the region is critical for long-term growth and development,”
said Michael Essex, IFC Director, Middle East and North Africa. “IFC has
invested $4 billion in the region over the last three years to support
the private sector and create jobs,” he said.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively
on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging
markets. Along with the World Bank [IBRD], it is currently seeking a capital
increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in
developing countries—including by strengthening financial markets in the
Middle East and North Africa.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5
billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries
during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.