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Nigeria— International Finance Corporation Chief Visits Nigeria November 19-22, 2003


In Lagos:
Andrew Alli

Phone: (234-1) 262 6467        

Fax: (234-1) 262 6465        

Email:
aalli@ifc.org        

In Washington:

Ludi Joseph

Phone: (202) 473-7700

Fax: (202) 974 4384

E-mail:
ljoseph@ifc.org


Lagos, Nigeria, November 17, 2003 — Peter Woicke, executive vice president of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and managing director of the World Bank Group for Private Sector Development, will visit Nigeria from November 19 to 22, 2003. IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

“I am glad to be visiting Nigeria once again,” Mr. Woicke said. “My visit underlines the importance and continuing commitment that IFC attaches to its work in Nigeria, and it gives me an opportunity to assess first hand how the country is progressing with its reform agenda.”


During his visit, Mr. Woicke will share IFC’s new Africa strategy with clients, government, industry leaders and entrepreneurs, and discuss ways of enhancing IFC’s services and contributions. He will also meet with the government’s economic management team to review Nigeria’s private sector development priorities and ensure that IFC is in accord with the new administration’s economic development program.


Mr. Woicke’s itinerary will include a call on President Obasanjo and a meeting with Nigeria’s core economic team, including the finance minister. He will meet IFC clients, potential clients and members of the donor and diplomatic community.  He will also participate in the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Stock Exchange to emphasize IFC’s work in reviving the Nigerian corporate bond market. He will take part in an event to mark IFC’s investment in MTN Nigeria and attend a ceremony to commemorate IFC’s proposed investment in a microfinance institution.  


IFC’s strategic priorities in Nigeria include assisting small businesses through providing technical assistance and financing; assisting the non-oil sector, especially in financial restructuring and expanding nontraditional exports; enhancing the domestic financial sector by providing resources to commercial banks for medium-term lending; introducing new financial products to enhance the development of Nigerian capital markets; and promote privatization and private investments in infrastructure services.


IFC also works in Nigeria and throughout Africa through specialized facilities such as the Africa Project Development Facility, which identifies African entrepreneurs and helps them organize, diversify, and expand their businesses by assisting them throughout the project preparation cycle. In addition, IFC works through AMSCO (African Management Services Company), which helps strengthen African enterprises by providing experienced managers and training local management teams.


Notable recent projects include IFC's investment in cellular operator MTN Nigeria, to which the Corporation provided a US$100 million financing package — the largest IFC investment to date in the country.  The $1.3 billion project is being financed by a combination of debt, equity and standby facilities.


Another notable project is the microfinance institution investment with ACCION International and a group of Nigerian banks. This project aims to improve access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.


The mission of IFC 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 FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications