World Bank unit eyes $1bn MENA investments

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The International Finance Corp is looking to invest $1bn in MENA countries including Egypt

The International Finance Corp is looking to invest $1bn in MENA countries including Egypt

International Finance Corp, a unit of the World Bank, plans to invest close to $1bn by the end of June in countries including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Libya, its regional director said on Sunday.

"We've invested so far more than a billion dollars since July 2011 and plan to invest another billion," Mouayed Makhlouf, regional director for IFC in the Middle East and North Africa, said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

"We're definitely starting to look at Libya, mainly financing trade," Makhlouf added.

IFC, which invests in developing the private sector in emerging economies, is looking at sectors such as infrastructure, education, financial services and trade, he added.

IFC had invested $2.2bn in the MENA region since January last year, Makhlouf said, becoming an important conduit of capital for companies impacted by unrest in the Arab world last year.

It made a $50m equity investment in Orascom Construction Industries and agreed to lend $200m to its subsidiary, Egyptian Fertilizer Company in July.

IFC also agreed in December to invest up to $110m in Jordan-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals to help improve access to high-quality generic medicines in the MENA region.

Through its IFC Capitalisation Fund, which supports emerging market banks, IFC signed a $170m subordinated loan agreement with Oman's Bank Muscat last month.

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