Washington, D.C., August 16, 2001-Peter
Woicke—Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation
and Managing Director of the World Bank Group for private sector development—will
travel to Nigeria, Chad, and Ghana from August 22 to 29, 2001, to look
at IFC’s investment and advisory work and consult with government and
industry leaders. The trip underlines the importance and continuing
commitment that IFC attaches to its work in sub-Saharan Africa. IFC
is the largest financier of private investment in Africa and has supported
more projects there than in any other region of the world.
IFC’s total committed portfolio in Africa as of fiscal year 2001 was US$1.42
billion in 330 projects. IFC has approved $6.5 billion in 935 projects
in 43 sub-Saharan African countries as of the end of June 2001.
In Africa, IFC’s strategic priorities aimed at stimulating the private
sector include building domestic financial markets and institutions, developing
physical infrastructure through privatization and investment, promoting
indigenous entrepreneurship through supporting small and medium enterprises,
and investing in projects based on information and communications technology.
For details on IFC’s Africa strategy and experience, please look
at “Developing the Private Sector in Africa” (http://www.ifc.org/publications/pubs/afripaper/english/english.html).
IFC is expanding its support to small and medium businesses by
working with local financial intermediaries and building links between
small enterprises and larger, more mature businesses.
In the past decade, IFC’s Technical Assistance Trust Funds program, financed
through bilateral agreements with donor countries, has implemented 175
technical assistance assignments costing more than $16 million in Africa.
In addition, technical assistance to small businesses is provided
through a broad array of programs cosponsored by IFC and donor agencies,
including the Africa Project Development Facility (APDF), which assists
African entrepreneurs in formulating project proposals and in raising local
and foreign financing; the African Management Services Company (AMSCO),
which strengthens African enterprises by providing experienced managers
and training local teams; and Enterprise Support Services for Africa (ESSA),
which provides postfinancing support and managerial and technical support.
APDF is active in Nigeria, Chad, and Ghana, and AMSCO and ESSA are
active in Ghana.
In Nigeria, IFC’s role is focused on providing support to financial institutions,
infrastructure, privatization in general, and a comprehensive program of
activities with small and medium enterprises. In 1999, with the advent
of the Obasanjo government, IFC and the World Bank re-instituted a full
investment and advisory program in Nigeria. As of end June 2001,
IFC’s portfolio had reached $143 million, making Nigeria IFC’s second-largest
country portfolio in Africa. Most of the new investments are in the
financial sector where IFC has invested about $131 million. As far
as development of the Niger Delta is concerned, IFC is investing in a new
business hotel in Port Harcourt to be managed by Novotel as well as in
the Niger Delta Contractor Revolving Credit Facility, which targets small
businesses engaged in oil field services to help them compete more effectively.
The facility will build up a strong base of local service contractors,
thereby creating greater employment, more access to business opportunity,
increased links between the oil and non-oil sectors, and broader benefits
of oil production to the economy in general. IFC is also advising
the Lagos State government on the privatization of the water sector.
IFC’s involvement in Chad is mainly related to oil field development and
the $3.7 billion Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development and Pipeline Project,
which involves developing oil fields in southern Chad and constructing
a 1,070 km pipeline through Cameroon to an export facility off the Atlantic
Coast. IFC is providing $100 million from its own account and mobilizing
a further $100 million from commercial banks in financing to develop the
project, which represents a pioneering effort by the World Bank Group to
transform oil wealth into direct benefits for the poor. IFC is also
supporting an initiative to increase business opportunities for local firms
in connection with the pipeline and is promoting potential financial sector
projects, some of which have grown out of the pipeline and related small
business initiative. As part of the same initiative, loan officers
of selected banks were trained to improve their capacity for lending to
local micro enterprises and to small and medium businesses.
In addition, IFC is financing a
dairy in N’Djamena.
In Ghana, IFC’s portfolio now totals $62 million. In the past, IFC
played key roles in the mining sector and with small and medium businesses,
and is now considering a larger program that would build on current activities,
including financial sector support, privatization advisory services, finance
for private infrastructure, and increased financing to small businesses
via intermediaries and technical assistance. In financial year 2001,
Ghana Telecom received debt financing of $100 million—including $40 million
for IFC’s own account—to expand its fixed-line network, develop a nationwide
GSM (Global System for Mobile telephony) cellular network, and invest in
a regional fiber optic cable. IFC is also financing a cement plant
and a printing and packaging plant serving the export sector for a total
of $7.7 million. It also helped set up—under a franchise arrangement
with NIIT Limited of India—the NIIT Computer Training School in Accra
to provide Ghanaian students and professionals with the information technology
skills needed to compete in the domestic and global economy. With
donor support from the government of Denmark, IFC and AMSCO have trained
businesses on the basic principles of corporate governance and developed
a corporate governance manual for managers, directors, shareholders, financial
institutions, and government authorities.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty
and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in
emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.