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World Bank Managing Director and IFC Executive Vice President Peter Woicke Visits Nigeria, January 16-18, 2005


In Lagos:
Andrew Alli

Telephone: +234 1 262 6455

E-mail:
aalli@ifc.org

In Washington:

Corrie Shanahan

Telephone: +1 (202) 473-2258

E-mail:
cshanahan@ifc.org


Lagos, January 16, 2005— Mr. Peter Woicke, World Bank Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will visit Nigeria on January 16-18, 2005.

Mr. Woicke will meet with government representatives, Nigerian companies, and IFC clients.  Mr. Woicke will, on January 17, also give the key note address at the First Business Roundtable with the government of Nigeria, an event organized by the Economist Group.


Nigeria represents IFC’s largest country portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a total country exposure of $290 million.


New investments already committed this fiscal year include: a $35 million follow-up investment in MTN, Nigeria’s leading mobile telecommunications company, which will complement IFC’s $100 million investment last year; and a $1.89 million investment for a 12.6 percent equity stake in ACCION Microfinance Limited, a new microfinance institution in which IFC will be investing alongside a number of major Nigerian financial institutions and ACCION Investments in Microfinance. The project will be managed by ACCION International, one of the world's leading microfinance pioneers,  and is expected to begin operations during the first quarter of 2005.


Other IFC initiatives in Nigeria include:


       
Investments in Process: IFC is working on potential investments in a number of sectors, including building materials, oil production and services,         financial markets, and retail.
       
Advisory: IFC has recently entered into an agreement with the federal government of Nigeria to help review of the airport system in Nigeria and the privatization of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.  This would support the government's efforts to improve aviation services and develop         a regional air services hub in West Africa with a private national carrier.  IFC is also working on a number of initiatives to assist in development of         Nigeria’s electricity sector.  These include assisting entrepreneurs in developing individual projects, assisting the government in its reform program,         and designing technical assistance programs to facilitate the development of off-grid power in semiurban and rural areas.  IFC is also developing         technical assistance programs to facilitate the development of the financial sector.
       
Global Business School Network:  IFC is developing pilot projects to strengthen business schools in Sub-Saharan Africa by linking them with         their counterparts in developed countries. The projects aim to build schools’ capacity to provide high-quality and sustainable management training         programs. One of the first pilots is in Nigeria, with the Lagos Business School, and focuses on building the capacity of the school’s new                 entrepreneurship center to provide management training for entrepreneurs and SME managers.

The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing 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 FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

In FY04, IFC committed 25 projects in 12 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, for a total amount of $407 million. IFC’s committed portfolio for the region as of June 30, 2004, totaled about $1.8 billion.