Johannesburg, February 06, 2006—
Mr. Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President of the International Finance
Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will visit
the Democratic Republic of Congo, February 9-10, 2006.
The visit underscores the importance and continuing commitment that IFC
attaches to its partnership with the country. Mr. Thunell’s program will
include meetings with government officials as well as consultations with
local private sector representatives, donors, and IFC clients. Mr. Thunell
will be accompanied by Mr. Paulo Gomes, Executive Director of the World
Bank Group, and Mr. Richard Ranken, IFC’s Director for Africa.
These meetings will give Mr. Thunell an opportunity to discuss economic
and social developmental priorities for the country and to explore ways
to improve the business environment and promote more private sector development.
"The DRC has been successful recently at turning its economy around,
from contraction in the early 2000s to estimated growth of 7 percent in
2005. This is particularly impressive considering the challenges
this country has faced. The DRC is rich in human and natural resources,
and IFC will continue to promote private sector development in support
of the country’s economic regeneration," said Mr. Thunell.
IFC’s strategy in the Democratic Republic of Congo includes enhanced support
to small and medium enterprises, active engagement in improving the business
climate, and proactive pursuit of direct investments.
In recent years, IFC’s activities in the country have included:
- In 2005, a $6 million equity financing
in Kolwezi’s copper-cobalt mining project, that may pave the way
for further investment of up to $50 million.
- In 2005, a $500,000 million equity investment
in ProCredit Bank, a microfinance institution who provides financial services
to lower income clients and micro and small enterprises. This investment
was coupled with technical assistance in form of a $500,000 grant to provide
capacity building and training to staff.
- In 2003, a $20 million loan to Celtel,
and in 2001, a $7 million loan to the company, to help it expand its mobile
phone network in the country.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own
funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was
$19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants
in loan syndications.
In FY05, IFC committed 32 projects in 13 countries in the Sub-Saharan
Africa region for a total amount of $445 million. IFC’s total committed
portfolio for the region as of June 30, 2005, was about $2.0 billion.
Since its first investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo
in 1970, IFC has committed financing in 10 projects amounting to $75 million.
As of June 2005, IFC’s portfolio in the country was $37 million.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.