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,
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.