FILE- Mouayed Makhlouf, the IFC's regional director for Middle East and North Africa
CAIRO – 29 August 2018: The International Finance Cooperation (IFC) supported the Middle East and North Africa’s private sector, boost innovation, drive economic growth, and create jobs with $2 billion.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, provided over $1 billion in financing for its own account and mobilized another $1 billion from other investors in the region in fiscal year 2017/2018.
It referred a statement to its support which enabled businesses in the region to provide more than 119,000 jobs, distribute power to about 500,000 people, and deliver health care to more than 2.9 million people.
It noted that its focus was on creating new markets, supporting power and renewable energy projects, and helping entrepreneurs—including by expanding access to finance to high-potential technology startups.
“IFC also worked to boost economic opportunities in conflict-affected countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement read.
“Our commitments in FY18 set a new record for IFC in the region,” IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Mouayed Makhlouf said.
“With the help of our colleagues from the World Bank and other development finance institutions, we’re continuing to push the boundaries of development finance, offering new solutions and crowding in private investors for key projects that can help MENA countries grow and create jobs and prosperity,” he added.
IFC said that the key projects that it funded during last fiscal year included a $653 million financing package for a landmark solar array in Egypt, the first green-bonds program in Lebanon and the Levant, and a solar project in Gaza, the first privately financed energy project in more than a decade. IFC also provided $269 million to Zain Iraq, the country’s largest mobile phone operator to help rebuild Iraq’s telecommunications sector.
IFC also runs a large advisory services program in the region, with 83 active projects valued at over $128 million at the end of FY18, according to the statement.
It clarified that this work focuses on creating a business-friendly environment and supporting entrepreneurship, bolstering infrastructure development, reducing gender inequality, expanding access to finance for smaller businesses, and combating climate change.
During 2018/2019, IFC plans to maintain its strategic focus on creating new markets across MENA by supporting the region’s fast-growing renewable energy sector and helping young entrepreneurs deliver innovations, as well as working to expand access to finance for small and medium sized businesses and helping empower women.
CEO of IFC Philippe Le Houerou said earlier that it is committed to fund the Egyptian private sector with $2 billion by 2019, a value that can be increased for entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises.
Houerou explained that his organization is keen to support the participation of the private sector in the field of renewable energy in Egypt, and provide technical support on the implementation of public-private partnership in this sector.