Bujumbura, Burundi, May 14 2012 – IFC
Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell has affirmed IFC’s commitment
to supporting smaller businesses in Burundi, signing an agreement to roll
out the Business Edge™ training program in the country, where it will
help entrepreneurs gain the skills they need to succeed. IFC is a member
of the World Bank Group.
During his first visit to Burundi as IFC Vice President, Thunell met with
Thérance Sinunguruza, the
First Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, other government officials,
private sector representatives, and some of IFC’s development partners
in the country. During these meetings, Thunell discussed ways Burundi can
strengthen its economy, particularly in the power, transport, and agriculture
IFC’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Jean Philippe Prosper, accompanied
Thunell on his visit.
Thunell said, “IFC is backing Burundi’s efforts to strengthen and reform
its private sector so it can increase growth and job creation. We are committed
to helping Burundi build a strong, private sector-led economy in key sectors
such as power, transport and agribusiness, so the country can achieve lasting
stability and growth.”
Thunell signed the Business Edge agreement with four trainers that were
selected by IFC. The agreement will expand the availability of the Business
Edge program in Burundi, with the goal of reaching hundreds of smaller
businesses working with banks, telecoms companies, and other large institutions.
Business Edge, which has trained more than 100,000 entrepreneurs in Africa,
provides courses in marketing, finance, operations, and other areas.
Thunell also formally launched IFC’s office in Burundi, which will oversee
all programs, including IFC’s Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative.
CASA is helping Burundi improve its investment climate, increase small
business growth, and strengthen financial institutions.
IFC’s advisory services support helped Burundi enact a number of reforms
to its business climate in 2011, making it easier to start a business,
register property, and obtain construction permits.
Thanks to these reforms, Burundi was ranked the seventh most improved economy
in the world and jumped eight places in the 2012 edition of the IFC’s
and World Bank’s Doing Business Report, which ranks the ease of doing
business in countries around the world.
IFC is also committed to investing in Burundi, and made a $5.5 million
investment in November, 2011 to develop a 138-room Hilton Hotel in Bujumbura.
The hotel will help improve the country’s essential business infrastructure
by providing international-standard rooms and conference facilities.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing
countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing
advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital
in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty
across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental
performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving
our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information,