Press Releases

Managing Director of the World Bank and Head of IFC Visits Spain and Portugal

Adriana Gomez

Phone:+(202)458 5204- Fax:+(202) 974 4384


Will highlight firms’ investment opportunities in emerging markets, especially through expansion into new regions.
Will encourage firms to respond positively to the globalization debate by applying responsible standards of investment.

Washington, D.C., July 16, 2003—.
 Peter Woicke, head of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Managing Director of the World Bank Group, will visit Spain and Portugal, from July 16-18. He will meet with IFC partners and sponsors to discuss investment opportunities for Spanish and Portuguese firms in emerging markets and encourage them to explore new regions and sectors.

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes environmentally and socially responsible investments in emerging markets and is a leader in sustainability among multilateral development banks. IFC believes that developing the private sector in emerging markets fosters economic growth and improves people’s quality of life. IFC invested $3.8 billion dollars in these markets in the past 12 months.

Peter Woicke will be in Madrid from July 16-17, where he will meet with high-level government officials at the Ministry of Economy. He will also meet with current and potential sponsors and partners of IFC projects, including Telefonica, Union Fenosa, Banco Bilbao Viscaya Argentaria, Repsol, and Hoteles Occidental, among others, and with a group of Spanish entrepreneurs.

Spain joined IFC in 1960. As of June 30, 2003, Spanish firms and development agencies have provided over $412 million in direct loan and equity financing for 60 IFC projects in 23 countries. In addition, nine Spanish financial institutions have lent $410 million through IFC’s loan syndications program. Most of IFC’s operations with Spanish partners are currently focused on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Peter Woicke will visit Lisbon from July 18-19, where he will meet with top officials at the Ministries of Economy and Finance, and at ICEP Portugal – the government’s Investment, Trade and Tourism Office. He will also meet with current and potential sponsors of IFC projects, including Montepio Geral, Banco Portugues de Investimento, and Portugal Telecom, as well as with the President and members of the Portuguese Banking Association. Mr. Woicke will also preside over a conference at ICEP with a group of Portuguese entrepreneurs, exporters, and contractors who are interested in investment opportunities abroad.

Portugal joined IFC in 1960, and as of June 30, 2003, 35 Portuguese firms and development agencies have provided more than $34 million in direct loan and equity financing for 28 IFC projects in 9 countries.

During his visit to Spain and Portugal, Mr. Woicke will also emphasize the initiative by 10 of the leading international banks, including Citibank, ABN AMRO, and Barclays, to adopt the Equator Principles, which apply IFC environmental and social policies and guidelines to all their project financing worldwide. Twenty more banks are expected to join in the next twelve months. From IFC’s perspective, the Equator Principles are a positive response to the globalization debate, demonstrating that the role of global financial institutions is shifting toward adoption of responsible standards for investing.

This will be Peter Woicke’s first visit to Portugal and his second to Spain as head of IFC.

IFC's mission ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries and transition economies, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the emerging markets, 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 fiscal year 2002, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's committed portfolio at the end of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

In FY02 Latin America was the largest recipient of IFC funds with $1.4 billion, followed by East Asia and the Pacific with $740 million, Europe and Central Asia with $739 million, South Asia with $267, Sub-Saharan Africa with $252, and the Middle East and North Africa with $137 million.