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.