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IFC Vice President for Africa and the Middle East Visits Liberia


In Monrovia
Henri Mensah

Phone: +1 202 569 3322

E-mail:
Lmensah@ifc.org


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 financing.”


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.


About IFC

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

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