IFC logo and The World Bank logo.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank member, announced that it had provided a record $10.4 billion in financing to countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in 2021 to help small businesses access finance, connect people and businesses to reliable digital infrastructure, trade and services, and to meet critical health needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
The financing included short-term finance worth $2.9 billion and mobilisation with total of $4.2 billion, with 70 percent of IFC's own account financing directed to low-income and fragile and conflict affected states, according to the IFC.
IFC added that it committed $2.7 billion, Under the Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), with an aim to support trade flows between countries and help to connect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to value chains in MEA.
“IFC responded quickly to the regions' health needs providing $1.6 billion in the MEA, including $732 million to partners in sub-Saharan Africa from its Global Health Facility. The health response is supporting the expansion of diagnostic and laboratory testing, increased access to critical medical equipment, and partnerships to support leading vaccine manufacturers on the continent. Among the key initiatives, in April, IFC announced the Africa Medical Equipment Facility, a partnership that so far includes Philips, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, GE Healthcare and NSIA to strengthen medical equipment financing across Africa”, IFC elaborated.
In Africa, IFC invested $26 million to support financial technology development, and supported projects aimed at increasing climate finance.
"IFC is working with partners across the Middle East and Africa to support countries to create stronger, more resilient, and more connected economies. The past 15 months have shown how critical it is to ensure that small businesses can access finance, that homes and businesses are connected to the Internet, and that trade and supply chains remain open to help countries respond to critical food and health needs. We stepped up our efforts in the past year to help our partners and will continue to support them through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery," said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for the Middle East and Africa.
In addition to these investments, IFC provided advisory and upstream services with a portfolio exceeds $520 million for 338 projects aimed at improving the business environment, investment policy and promotion and creating markets in priority sectors.
In the Middle East and North Africa, where the COVID-19 pandemic has led to declines in oil production, tourism revenues, and remittances, IFC invested $1.8 billion, including $100 million in Egypt's first private sector green bond – issued by the Commercial International Bank (CIB) – to increase lending to businesses seeking to invest in eco-friendly initiatives, including green buildings, renewable energy and energy efficiency.