WASHINGTON, D.C. February 6, 2001—IFC
Executive Vice President Peter Woicke will travel to Japan, Hong Kong SAR,
China, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines from February 7-19, 2001.
Mr. Woicke will meet with government officials, participate in business
roundtables with IFC clients and other entrepreneurs, and speak with leaders
of the foreign and local business communities. The purpose of the
visit is to hear directly from IFC’s clients and from regional policymakers
on the business environment in the region, and to discuss areas in which
IFC can provide investment or policy support. Mr. Woicke will focus
in particular on the need to create a better climate for investment, strengthen
the financial sector, improve legal systems, and reduce corporate debt
levels. He will emphasize the importance of corporate restructuring
and good governance in attracting investment to East Asia. One key
area for discussion will be the challenges and opportunities facing the
private sector across East Asia in light of China’s imminent entry into
the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Woicke will sign several new transactions in Hong Kong, Indonesia,
and the Philippines as part of IFC’s continuing effort to stimulate more
private sector activity in post-crisis Asia. The projects include
assistance to small and medium enterprises, investments in trade facilities,
and sustainable forestry. The investments highlight IFC’s commitment
to supporting policy reforms and economic opportunity which aim to reduce
poverty and which respect the natural environment.
In Japan, IFC’s second largest shareholder, Mr. Woicke will meet (Feb.
7-8) with government, banking, and business leaders. Japan’s government
and business communities have made notable contributions to economic development
through their partnerships with IFC in a variety of sectors. Japanese
institutional investors are also among the most active participants in
IFC’s loan syndication program.
IFC’s held portfolio in China, including participations, now totals approximately
US$800 million. Investments range from landmark investments such
as New China Life Insurance Company and the Sichuan SME Investment Fund
to support for newly privatized state-owned enterprises and critical sectors
such as private healthcare. IFC has targeted western China
for many years and has supported nine projects in China's Western provinces.
Following its success in Sichuan over the past seven years, IFC is
now working in a second province, Shaanxi.
In Hong Kong, Feb. 9, Mr. Woicke will meet with the Chief Executive Mr.
Tung Che-Hwa. Financial institutions in Hong Kong have been active participants
in IFC’s loan syndication program. A joint IFC-World Bank office
was set up in Hong Kong in September 2000 as part of the Bank’s decentralization
to the field to better serve its member countries and support its financial
recovery process in Asia.
While in Hong Kong, Mr. Woicke will also announce a new investment in Sino-Forest
Corporation, a forestry project in China’s Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces.
Besides purchasing and replanting eucalyptus and aspen plantations,
the project will manufacture wooden boards, doors, and cabinets for use
in China’s interior decoration and furniture industries. It will
also help to reduce deforestation and increase environmental conservation
of forested areas.
In Indonesia, IFC’s current held portfolio, including participations,
is approximately $850 million. IFC has been involved in several significant
corporate restructurings—Santika Hotels, Semen Andalas, South Pacific
Viscose, Rimba Partikel, Ades Alfindo, and Argo Pantes—and is actively
developing a pipeline of projects for new investments. In the financial
sector, IFC is promoting a range of new financial instruments including
securitization, and trade enhancement facilities. IFC’s assistance
to Bank NISP has helped the bank overcome the effects of the economic crisis.
IFC is also providing a financial package to Petrosea, one of the
largest engineering and construction companies serving the oil, gas, and
In Jakarta, Feb. 15 and16, Mr. Woicke will announce new investments in
trade facilities in Indonesia with Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo
Bank, each for $125 million. The two five-year revolving facilities
will help stimulate recovery in Indonesia's international trade flows by
providing short-term financing to private sector importers who have little
access to trade finance from the local banking sector. The facilities
provide additional letter of credit confirmation lines to selected local
commercial banks with IFC guaranteeing 40 percent of each transaction.
Mr. Woicke will also address a conference on SME Lending for Commercial
Bankers in Jakarta, Feb. 16. SMEs—a major part of IFC’s activities—are
regarded by IFC as a means to generate employment and create wealth by
spurring investment in the small business sector. IFC invests in
SMEs (directly as well as indirectly through financial intermediaries)
and provides technical and advisory services to support their development.
Mr. Woicke will travel to Singapore on Feb. 17 for a visit that will include
a meeting with the Senior Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore firms
and public development agencies have provided financing to a number of
IFC projects and its financial institutions have been active participants
in IFC’s loan syndication program. IFC opened a syndications office
in Singapore about two years ago.
In the Philippines, IFC’s held portfolio, including participations, is
$675 million. Investments include Stradcom, a project to computerize
and outsource the back-office of the Land Transport Office; Asian Hospital,
IFC’s first healthcare project in the country; Planters Development Bank,
a thrift bank focused on the SME sector, and the restructuring of United
and Paper Company Inc.
In Manila, Feb. 19, Mr. Woicke will announce a new investment to encourage
small business growth. The investment is in the Micro Enterprise
Bank of the Philippines (MEP), in Davao on the island of Mindanao, one
of the country’s poorest regions.
IFC and the World Bank are also working on a national corporate
governance action program in the Philippines that is aimed at improving
governance in the corporate, banking, and securities market sectors. An
Institute of Corporate Directors has been set up in Manila to train directors
in good corporate governance. Several countries in the region will
eventually be linked to the Institute through distance learning facilities.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in
the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial
markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and