The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced that it has expanded its operations in Europe and Central Asia with investment commitments reaching $2.9 billion.
The organization is focusing on driving the diversification of the region’s economies, promoting access to finance for small businesses and tackling climate change. As a private investment arm of the World Bank, IFC has been actively involved in developing countries, providing them with the required investments as well as advisory services to promote the private sector’s development.
Wiebke Schloemer, IFC’s director for Europe and Central Asia, said that for the coming years IFC’s investments will focus “on supporting the development of the fledging private sector in some of the poorest and conflicted-affected countries in the region while also continuing to work in middle income countries to promote innovation and competitiveness, energy efficiency and sustainable urban infrastructure.”
IFC invested $2.26 billion from its account and mobilized another $0.68 billion from other investors during its fiscal year 2018, which ended in June 30. The investments will be used to help the region’s financial sector. IFC is also looking to increase loans to small and medium-sized businesses, support women-owned businesses, develop agribusiness and improve the region’s urban infrastructure. IFC has supported $1.8 billion of cross-border trade in the region through 28 banks participating in its global trade finance program.
IFC’s largest commitments during the last fiscal year were in Turkey ($1.1 billion), Romania ($336.4 million), Serbia ($190.5 million), Ukraine ($129.1 million) and Kazakhstan ($111.5 million). Some landmark transactions include €108 million ($126 million) in financing to boost Serbia’s production of renewable energy through wind farms, $120 million in loans to increase the productivity of Ukraine’s agribusiness sector and a $75 million investment to support women entrepreneurs in Turkey. In January 2018, Mercom reported on IFC’s $188 million financial package for Jordan’s largest solar project.
IFC has also implemented 79 advisory projects in the region. The goal of these projects was to improve business regulations, working with the private sector to fight climate change and helping local companies improve their corporate governance, environmental and social practices.
In June 2018, Mercom reported on the news of IFC signing mandate to foster Uzbekistan’s renewable energy expansion plans.
Over the next fiscal year, IFC will continue to focus on high-impact projects that can help mitigate climate change, promote financial inclusion and create new jobs.