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IFC to Increase Support for Liberia’s Development

Monrovia, Liberia, May 29, 2009 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today pledged to increase its investments and advisory services support in Liberia to help the country strengthen its private sector and create jobs as it rebuilds its economy.
During her first official visit to Liberia, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services Rachel Kyte met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, key government officials, businessmen and women from various sectors, and a cross-section of young people. She emphasized IFC’s support for Liberia’s efforts to improve its investment climate, and its work helping smaller businesses in the country become more competitive. She also highlighted IFC’s recent investments in AccessBank Liberia, a new microfinance institution, and the Salala Rubber Company.
Kyte said, “IFC is delivering on its commitment to support the private sector’s contribution to Liberia’s economic recovery, job creation and poverty reduction. Today we commit to strengthening our partnership with Liberia to encourage reform and private sector investment that will improve lives and help the economy thrive.” Kyte was accompanied by IFC’s Director for West and Central Africa, Yolande Duhem, and Resident Representative, Jumoke Jagun.
IFC recently added staff to its Liberia office to better respond to local business needs and identify new investment opportunities. IFC is also adapting globally-recognized training products the SME Toolkit and Business Edge for the Liberian market (see descriptions below).
IFC’s support for Liberia is part of a regional effort to encourage the private sector to contribute more to redevelopment and poverty reduction in economies adversely affected by previous conflicts.
IFC fully reengaged in Liberia in 2007, four years after the conclusion of long-running civil wars that virtually destroyed the country’s economy.  IFC’s total committed portfolio in Liberia as of March 30, 2009 was $12.4 million, including a $10 million loan to Salala Rubber Company and a $1.08 million equity investment in AccessBank Liberia.
Liberia was the first stop on Kyte’s two-country visit, which will also take her to Sierra Leone, where she will discuss how IFC advisory services and investments can have the greatest developmental impact on the recovery of that country’s economy.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal year 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit .
About Business Edge
Business Edge is IFC’s comprehensive range of practical and flexible management training products and services, specially designed to improve the performance of small and medium firms. Successfully launched in Vietnam, it has since been rolled out in 10 countries including China and in several countries in the Middle East. For more information on Business Edge, please contact .
About SME Toolkit
SME Toolkit is an innovation of IFC in partnership with IBM. It uses the latest information and communication technologies to help small and medium enterprises in emerging markets learn sustainable business management practices. For more information on the SME Toolkit, visit .