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IFC TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, WEST BANK AND GAZA, AND YEMEN


Joseph O’Keefe
Phone: (202) 458-4032

Email:
jokeefe@ifc.org

Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: (202) 458-7148

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., 19 December 2003 – The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, approved an investment on Thursday to establish a technical assistance program for Afghanistan, Iraq, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.

The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East (PEP-ME), which received start-up funding of $10 million from IFC for four years, will develop projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen to improve the business and regulatory environment, strengthen financial institutions and markets, stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, and assist in the restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises. The facility is expected to seek up to $30 million in additional contributions from other donors.


“Fostering a strong private sector is essential not only to long-term regional stability but to reducing poverty,” said Peter Woicke, executive vice president of IFC, in a statement issued Thursday.


“The aim of this technical assistance program is to expand our role in the region by taking approaches that IFC has used very effectively elsewhere. PEP-ME is modeled on the technical assistance facility that IFC operates in the former Soviet Union,” he said.


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