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IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell Visiting Democratic Republic of Congo, February 9-10, 2006


In Johannesburg, South Africa:
Elizabeth Pretorius
Phone: 27 11 731 3155
E-mail: epretorius@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:
Corrie Shanahan
Phone: +202 473 2258
E-mail: cshanahan@ifc.org


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.
About IFC:

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.