By Neil King
IFC has given $3bn to the region’s private sector during the 2013 fiscal year
The International Finance Corporation invested $3bn in the region during the past financial year, targeting the private sector, and supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, contributed $150m to investment vehicle MENA SME Facility, in a bid to help boost lending to smaller business. It also lined up $230m in funding from other donors and finance institutions.
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “IFC has been working hard to unlock the power of the private sector, which has the potential to create jobs, spur development, and provide the economic opportunities people are clamouring for.”
The IFC also invested $647m to support infrastructure projects across the region, including $65m to expand mobile phone and internet services in Afghanistan and $70m to support Iraq’s cement industry. It also provided a $500m debt facility for natural gas producer Petroceltic, to help the company grow into Egypt and Algeria.
Funding was also made available for environmental and clean energy projects, with the IFC signing an agreement with UAE-based Masdar, and money was also dedicated to its advisory services programme, which promotes good corporate governance, helps governments streamline business regulations, and provides training for small-scale entrepreneurs.
During the 2013 fiscal year, 34 advisory projects were launched, worth a total of $37m.