Monrovia, Liberia, July 27, 2018 – Sérgio
Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for Africa and the Middle-East, completed
a working visit to Liberia, where he outlined IFC’s engagement and support
for efforts to diversify the Liberian economy and to create opportunities
for sustainable private sector-led growth and capital markets development.
Pimenta met with Liberian president George M. Weah. He also met with several
members of Cabinet, notably Minister of Finance and Minister of Commerce,
private sector companies and development partners. Lastly, the Vice President
chaired a dialogue with private sector.
The IFC private sector engagement forum, held on July 24, 2018 focused
on how to address the major challenges to business development in Liberia.
Discussions highlighted the need for priority support to agriculture and
infrastructure - especially in energy and transport, two vital sectors
for the economy. Participants also identified the need to increase SME
access to finance, build entrepreneurship, improve the regulatory environment
and increase public private dialogue to enable more private sector participation
in the country’s development.
Speaking at the forum, President Weah declared “Around the world and especially
in developed countries, private sector is the main engine of growth and
accounts for up to 80% of jobs created. My Government wants to replicate
this model. By creating a vibrant private sector where investors can participate
in the economy, we will create better opportunities for businesses that
can hire more employees from a capable Liberian workforce.”
IFC’s portfolio in Liberia is approximately $50 million, in sectors including
rubber, micro-finance, cocoa and venture funds. IFC, in partnership with
Cordaid, a Dutch NGO, is supporting promising Liberian SME’s through the
West Africa Venture Fund (WAVF). WAVF has invested in SMEs operating in
telecoms, agribusiness, woodwork and services. In addition, IFC’s advisory
services have supported the Government of Liberia to implement fifteen
programs covering leasing finance, commercial courts, the development of
a Special Economic Zone and tax administration.
“Liberia is a priority for IFC and we are looking to scale up our activities
in the country, in close collaboration with the other members of the World
Bank Group” said Pimenta. “Our IDA-Private Sector Window and our Creating
Markets Advisory Window are examples of IFC products that help mitigate
risks and attract more investments in fragile economies such as Liberia.
They are also proven solutions to develop a country’s capital market,
a key component of growth and development, that enables local currency
Engaging in fragile countries is a pillar of IFC’s new strategy. Five
years ago, IFC’ portfolio in fragile countries was $300 million worldwide.
Today, it is $3.5 billion, including $1 billion invested last year alone.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more
than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging
the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared
prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org