$500m investment for MENA SMEs

Word Bank body IFC seeks to bolster partnerships with regional SMEs
$500m investment for MENA SMEs
By Neil King
Wed 28 May 2014 12:01 PM

Investments worth $500m will be provided to regional SMEs to help them overcome barriers in business and trade.

International Finance Corporation, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, aims to fund initiatives to create jobs, develop infrastructure and enable easy access to finance for regional SMEs.

Dimitris Tsitsiragos, vice president of IFC, said: “We want to make companies regional champions and contribute to economic stability. It is important that each region has globally competitive companies and this includes MENA.

“As we get more confidence in MENA the amount we invest will be much larger.”

The IFC will look to invest in new companies during the rest of 2014, as well as strengthening existing partnerships.

“We are looking at repeating investments with them. We don’t see it as a one-time transaction, but a partnership in investing in what can be a difficult area,” Tsitsiragos added.

Last year, IFC made nearly $500m in inter- and intra-regional investments, which concentrated in infrastructure and primarily GCC companies.

This included a $30m loan to Gulftainer, the UAE-based ports operator, to help the company expand in Iraq, a loan of nearly $50m to Metito, the Dubai-based utilities company, in which it is also a shareholder.

It also supported Taqa, the Abu Dhabi-based energy company, with its $133m investment in a gas-fired power plant in Ghana.

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