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IFC To Open A Regional Office In Turkey


Ilker Cetin
E-mail:  
icetin@ifc.org
Phone:  (90-212) 282-4001

Fax:  (90-212) 282-4002


Afshin Molavi

E-mail:  
amolavi@ifc.org
Phone:  (202) 458-5674

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


Istanbul, Turkey, June 1, 2001─The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has opened a new office in Turkey that will act as a regional hub for IFC investments in Southern Europe and Central Asia.

Mr. Khosrow Zamani, IFC's Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, will take up residence in Istanbul on
June 1.  He said the new office will enable IFC to provide more comprehensive and efficient coverage of the region at a time when private sector development is critically needed.


The opening of the regional office is part of IFC’s decentralization strategy to build stronger relationships with clients and governments by engaging more actively in the field.  Mr. Zamani will be joined by additional IFC staff from Washington who will work on project finance and provide legal, technical, and environmental advice on investments.  The new office will also absorb the duties and staff of IFC’s local office, which focused primarily on Turkey.


Mr. Zamani said that Istanbul's stature as an important regional financial center made it a natural choice for IFC's hub in Southern Europe and Central Asia.  He added that IFC looks forward to continue its strong support to the private sector in Turkey, noting that it is critical for international financial institutions to support viable private sector enterprises in Turkey and reinforce confidence in the economic outlook of the country.


Turkey is an important country for IFC, the fourth largest exposure accounting for about 4.5% of IFC’s global portfolio.  IFC's held portfolio, including amounts mobilized from commercial banks, is close to $1 billion.  Exposure to the South and Central Asian region stands at $1.5 billion.  IFC's program for Turkey continues to be active with investments in projects of about $400 million.


Ms. Sujata Lamba, Country Manager for Turkey, stressed IFC’s key role as one of the few sources of long-term private capital in Turkey and said the institution is prepared to take selective risks and support viable exporters.  Given the particular challenges for Turkey this year, IFC’s support will be even more critical, she added.  A case in point is the recent international syndication of a large Turkish company, Arcelik, where IFC's increased financing allowed the company to complete its financial plan swiftly in the midst of the economic crisis.


The new Turkey office will be located in the Levent district.  The countries that will be covered by the office are: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org), 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.