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IFC Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell Emphasizes Commitment to Malawi

Blantyre, Malawi, November 10, 2010 – IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, Lars Thunell, said today that IFC is committed to doing more to help Malawi strengthen its economy, especially by supporting smaller businesses and the agriculture sector, and congratulated the country on its successful efforts to make it easier to do business in the country.
During his first visit to Malawi as IFC Vice President, Thunell had scheduled visits with government ministers, and IFC clients and partners in the agribusiness, telecommunications, and financial services sectors. He also visited a maize mill manufacturer and juice producer, highlighting IFC’s support of Malawi’s agriculture sector.
“IFC is backing Malawi’s efforts to strengthen and reform its private sector so it can maintain recent strong economic growth,” Thunell said. “We are committed to helping smaller businesses in the country grow and to supporting Malawi’s agriculture sector, which is a major source of employment. I congratulate Malawi for recent regulatory changes making it easier to do business in the country.”
Thunell visited Malawi’s NBS Bank, which, with IFC’s support, established a lending program that has supported hundreds of business in the country with increased access to finance. By early 2010, women had benefitted from 468 NBS loans worth more than $1.5 million.  
IFC is supporting Malawi’s efforts to reform and improve its business environment by providing advisory services to the country’s public and private sectors. Malawi was the world’s top reformer in improving contract enforcement according to the World Bank Group’s 2011 Doing Business Report, which ranks countries around the world on the ease of doing business.
IFC has a portfolio of US$33.7 million in Malawi spread across agribusiness, telecommunication and financial services. IFC’s strategy in Malawi is to support access to finance for smaller businesses, help the government in its efforts to improve the investment climate, and to support other important sectors, primarily agribusiness.
While in Africa, Thunell also visited Zambia, where he met with private sector partners and government officials.
About IFC
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 .