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Washington, D.C., October 15, 2010
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has recognized 12 clients for their leadership in developing inclusive business models that provide critical goods, services, and livelihoods to the poor in financially sustainable and expandable ways.
The clients were recognized at a conference on expanding opportunity and access to services for the poor at the base of the pyramid, held last week during the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. Please refer to the attached fact sheet for the list of recognized companies.
IFC selected the clients because their success using business models that engage the poor as full economic partners demonstrates the central role of the private sector in meeting the needs of people who struggle with poverty in its broadest form—the kind defined as much by a scarcity of opportunity and access as by lack of income.
“Businesses that serve the base of the economic pyramid will be the major drivers of economic growth in the future,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. “IFC is committed to increasing support for inclusive businesses that help improve livelihoods and create opportunities for people who need them most.”
Together, the companies recognized reach more than 30 million of the world’s suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers at the base of the pyramid. They are from a broad range of regions and industries, including infrastructure, health and education, agribusiness, financial services, telecommunications, and wholesale distribution.
According to research by IFC and the World Bank Resources Institute, about 4 billion people—or roughly two thirds of the world’s population—live at the base of the global economic pyramid. Each of these people makes ends meet on less than the equivalent of $3,000 a year in local purchasing power.
IFC is increasing its efforts to create opportunities for people at the base of the economic pyramid. It has established a new Inclusive Business Group to support projects that meet the dual imperatives of growth and inclusiveness. In fiscal 2010, IFC committed about $780 million to inclusive business investments.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit
Fact Sheet: IFC Clients Recognized as Leaders in Inclusive Business
Anhanguera Educacional Participações S.A
(AESA), Brazil’s leading private for-profit professional education company, reaches lower-income working adults through specialized offerings including vocational training sessions and distance learning platforms. In 2009, AESA educated over 755,000 Brazilian adults, with over 600,000 taking advantage of vocational training and distance learning options.
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited
has broadened the reach of health services in India by establishing facilities in semi-urban and rural areas and using telemedicine for specialist referrals. To ensure affordability, Apollo hospitals treat both low- and high-income patients and charge based on their ability to pay. Today, half of Apollo’s annual patient base of 16,000 patients is from low-income populations; the hospital group is expected to reach 120,000 patients per year earning less than $2 a day by 2015.
Companhia Energética do Maranhão
(CEMAR) is a Brazilian power distribution company and the implementing agency for the government program “Light For All”. Through this program, low-income customers receive up to 65% off their energy bills through government subsidies. CEMAR has reached 260,000 new households or over 1.3 million people in rural Maranhão, one of the poorest states in Brazil.
, one of The Coca-Cola Company’s largest bottlers in Africa, uses micro distribution centers to reach small retailers in densely populated areas in Eastern Africa. This model provides over 2,200 entrepreneurs the opportunity to run their own businesses, most for the first time. It has also created over 12,000 new jobs and enables owners and staff to support over 41,000 dependents.
Dialog Telekom PLC
is extending telecommunications coverage in underserved, remote regions in Sri Lanka, and reducing prices by leveraging synergies across multiple products. Dialog also distributes phone cards and other products through 40,000 small retailers, and provides them with basic business training. Since 2007, Dialog has acquired more than 3 million new subscribers to reach 6.3 million.
, a leading commodity trader, works with 125,000 coffee growers in Central America. ECOM’s direct financing and technical assistance support has enabled base of the pyramid farmers to improve productivity, increase quality and gain the certification necessary for premium pricing. Between 2006 and 2009, farmer productivity improved by 40% and farmers gained $3,692,999 in certification premiums.
Financial Information Network & Operations Ltd
deploys technologies that enable financial institutions to serve under-banked populations in India through mobile point-of-transaction terminals and smart cards. To date, FINO field agents have enrolled over 20 million individuals in 21 states and provide them with access to remittances, deposits, credit, subsidies, insurance and other financial services.
Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.
is the largest manufacturer of efficient irrigation systems worldwide and a leading processor of fruit and vegetables. JISL ensures its micro-irrigation systems are affordable to farmers through relationships with banks that provide credit and channeling government subsidies. Farmers using MIS are increasing net incomes by $100 to $1,000 per acre due to efficiency gains.
Manila Water Company
partners with local government units and community-based organizations in the design and maintenance of water supply systems in eastern Metro Manila, home to 6.1 million people. As a result, 99% of customers in this region have 24-hour water availability and customers now pay 20 times below per cubic meter rates previously charged by private water vendors.
is a distribution company focusing on more than 600,000 small-scale retailers in rural Mexico. It offers affordable door-to-door delivery, extended payment terms, and business training and advice. It reaches 1,300 stores and has helped 200 of them improve sales by 35% through store modernizations.
is the financial intermediary for Grupo Martins, the largest wholesaler and distributor in Latin America which services small retailers in Brazil. Tribanco provides over 150,000 retailers with training and financing for inventory or store renovations, enabling them to grow. It also provides over 4.04 million shoppers with limited access to financial services with private label credit cards for food and products.
is a non-profit university in Bogotá, Colombia which targets lower-income students with courses emphasizing employability, affordability, and accessibility through multiple sites around the country and a distance learning platform. Of the 40,000 students enrolled in 2010, 24,000 came from the bottom two income quintiles of the population – with total enrollment growing at 45% a year.
For more information on these companies, visit
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