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IFC Looks for Opportunities to Increase Development Impact in Cote d’Ivoire

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, December 22, 2008 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is looking to increase its development impact in conflict-affected Cote d’Ivoire by supporting projects in agribusiness, global manufacturing and services, health and education, infrastructure, and oil, gas and mining, where developmental impact can be greatest.
IFC Vice President Thierry Tanoh said during his first official visit to the country in that capacity that IFC will seek opportunities to support World Bank program-related policy dialogue and institutional reform, through investments and advisory services related to production, processing, and marketing in sectors critical to the economy, including cocoa.
In a sign of its renewed commitment, IFC recently signed a trade finance agreement with Ecobank Cote d’Ivoire, as part of a larger investment package agreed upon with ECI’s parent, Ecobank Transnational Inc., a pan-African banking group with a presence in over 25 countries in West, Central and East Africa. The agreement will provide a trade finance guarantee of up to $5 million for ECI.
Tanoh, accompanied by IFC’s new Director for West and Central Africa, Yolande Duhem, met with businesspeople and key government officials, including the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, and Prime Minister Guillaume Kigbafori Soro.
“The private sector will play an increasingly important role in creating jobs and reducing poverty in post-conflict Cote d’Ivoire," Tanoh said. "IFC will work with the government of Cote d’Ivoire to help create a business environment more suitable for private sector investment to help build a vibrant and inclusive economy."
Tanoh and members of Cote d’Ivoire’s government and private sector also discussed potential partnerships with local banks to increase their lending to small and medium enterprises as well as developing financial products to support the microfinance and small business sectors. Cote d’Ivoire ranked 161 out of 181 countries in the IFC-World Bank Doing Business 2009 report, which lists countries based on the ease of doing business.
Since it began working in Cote d’Ivoire in 1963, IFC has mobilized about $336 million in investments. IFC’s total committed portfolio as of June 30, 2008 is $72.47 million. The largest investments are a $48.7 million equity investment in the oil-and-gas company Devon Energy Cote d’Ivoire and a $24 million loan to Azito, an electricity company.
Cote d’Ivoire was the final stop on Tanoh’s four-country visit, which also took him to Niger, Mali and Togo to discuss how IFC advisory services and investments can have the greatest developmental impact on those economies.
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 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit .