International Finance Corporation progressively assist Sri Lankan private sector
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Colombo, Sri Lanka, March, 12 2007 - The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, reaffirmed its commitment to contributing to Sri Lanka’s economy by working closely with private enterprises across key sectors. Senior IFC officials, from Washington and India visiting Sri Lanka, shared best practices and case studies at a day-long workshop entitled, “Beyond Financing: Creating Opportunities, Empowering Enterprise.”
The event in Colombo also coincided the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the IFC, with senior management professionals in banking, trade finance, and infrastructure, manufacturing, and tourism sectors attending.
At a Press Briefing held at the Colombo Hilton Hotel for this purpose, Farida Khambata, IFC’s Regional Vice President for Asia and Latin America, recognized the progress made by private sector players in Sri Lanka, as well as IFC’s growing role in facilitating the growth of private enterprise. She said that in the last 50 years, IFC has tried to make a difference toward poverty reduction in emerging markets. They believe that the private sector is the key to development.
Iyad Malas, IFC Regional Director for South Asia, speaking said that today IFC’s activities cover a wide range of sectors, from ports, highways to microfinance institutions, vegetable farms, resort hotels, housing banks, IT companies, schools, and hospitals.
IFC’s products and services on offer have expanded from the original dollar-denominated senior loans and equity, to include loans in a variety of currencies, quasi-equities of varying types, currency and interest rate swaps and, most recently, carbon credits.
Anil Sinha, General Manager for the IFC South Asia Enterprise Development Facility, said that IFC not only invests, but also manages advisory programmes in extremely challenging and difficult markets. This work, funded from their profits and by donors, aims to build capacity in the private sector and improve the investment climate.
Gilles Galludec, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, said that since 1999, IFC’s investment exposure in Sri Lanka is over $86 million and $68 million in the Maldives. The investments are largely in the ports and energy infrastructure, telecommunications and the financial services sectors.”
He said that globally, IFC’s strategic priorities include strengthening the focus in frontier markets; building long-term partnerships with emerging global players in developing countries; differentiating through sustainability; addressing constraints to private sector growth in infrastructure, health, and education; and helping local financial market development through institution building and the use of innovative financial products.
IFC was founded in 1956, as a member of the World Bank Group, with the aim of furthering economic development by encouraging the growth of productive private enterprise in member countries, particularly in the less developed areas. IFC promotes poverty reduction in developing countries through the private sector, as it creates jobs, generates income, builds infrastructure, and provides essential goods and services.
Today IFC has 179 member countries and a $10 billion capital base. In its first full year of operations IFC made 4 investments totaling $5.3 million. In the 2006 fiscal year IFC made 284 investments totaling $5.4 billion, demonstrating how far the Corporation has come in 50 years.