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IFC Projects Database

IFC Projects Database > Projects  > AIP Policy in Detail 

Frequently Asked Questions


About IFC:

- What is IFC? What is the difference between IFC and the World Bank? 

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group, which consists of five closely associated institutions that are owned by member countries. Each plays a distinct role in helping fight poverty and improve lives.

IFC promotes economic development through private sector. Working with business partners, IFC invests in sustainable private enterprises in developing countries without the need for government guarantees. This direct lending to businesses is the fundamental contrast between IFC and the World Bank: under their Articles of Agreement, IBRD and IDA can only lend to the governments of member countries. IFC was founded specifically to address this limitation in World Bank lending.

IFC also offers advisory services to support private sector development. Most of these activities are funded in partnership with donor countries; many involve close collaboration with the World Bank.

- What services does IFC offer?

IFC provides a wide range of investment and advisory services that help businesses and entrepreneurs in the developing world meet the challenges they face in the marketplace.

Through its investment services, IFC offers innovative financial products to private sector projects in developing countries. These include loans for IFC's own account (also called A-loans), equity financing, quasi-equity financing, syndicated loans (or B-loans), risk management products, and partial credit guarantees. IFC often provides funding to financial intermediaries that on-lend to clients, especially small and medium enterprises.

IFC also provides advisory services that help build businesses. Much of IFC's advisory work is conducted by facilities managed by IFC but funded through partnerships with donor governments and other multilateral institutions. Other sources of funding include donor country trust funds and IFC's own resources.

IFC can provide a mix of financing and advisory services that is tailored to meet the needs of each project. But the bulk of the funding, as well as leadership and management responsibility, lies with private sector owners and investors.

Learn more about IFC's Products & Services or IFC Financing.


- How many member countries does IFC have to date? 

As of FY09, IFC has 182 member countries.


- How does a country become a member of IFC?

To join IFC, a country must be a member of IBRD; have signed IFC's Articles of Agreement; and have deposited with the World Bank Group's Corporate Secretariat an Instrument of Acceptance of IFC's Articles of Agreement. Learn more...


- Can I obtain a mortgage loan from IFC to buy a property? Or can I open a personal bank account at IFC?


No, IFC is a financier of development projects and not a retail bank.


About IFC Financing:

- Who can apply for IFC financing?

IFC invests in private enterprises: companies, financial institutions, and other businesses that are majority-owned by the private sector and that operate in IFC's developing member countries. IFC does not lend directly to micro, small, and medium enterprises or individual entrepreneurs, but many of our investment clients are financial intermediaries that on-lend to smaller businesses. Many of IFC's investments are provided in combination with advisory services.

- What types of financing does IFC provide?

In partnership with other investors, IFC provides clients with loans and intermediary services, loan participations, equity, structured finance, trade finance, risk management products, and subnational finance. IFC is providing a rapidly growing share of its financing in local currency.

- Does IFC provide grants to individual companies?

IFC provides a limited among of grant funding to business initiatives that innovate in specific practice areas: biodiversity, sustainable energy, and corporate responsibility. Such grants are typically provided in much smaller amounts than IFC's investments, and the funding is intended to help recipients demonstrate the commercial viability of new approaches to sustainability.

- I represent a private investor. Can we invest in IFC?

IFC seeks partners for joint ventures and raises additional financing by encouraging other institutions to invest in IFC projects. Resource mobilization—catalyzing funds from private investors and lenders for private sector projects in developing countries—is one of IFC's most essential functions. The bonds that IFC issues to fund its operations are also an opportunity for investors; see investor information. IFC does not issue stock; it is owned by 181 member countries, each of which provided share capital when joining IFC.

- Are there criteria my project must meet to be eligible for financing? 

Yes. To be eligible for IFC funding, a project must:

- Be located in a developing country that is a member of IFC
- Be in the private sector
- Be technically sound
- Have good prospects of being profitable
- Benefit the local economy
- Be environmentally and socially sound, satisfying IFC environmental and social standards as well as those of the host country

- Which sectors/industries IFC will consider for financing?

Visit the Web sites of IFC's Sector Departments to learn about the industries that qualify for IFC financing. The IFC Exclusion List defines the types of projects that IFC does not finance, including those that are hazardous to the environment or harmful to human health and well-being.

- Is my country eligible to receive IFC financing? 

To receive IFC funding, the project must benefit a developing country that is a member of IFC. Projects in selected sectors, such as information technology, may be located in an industrialized country if the benefits primarily accrue to a developing country or countries.

- What is the range of IFC's investments? 

IFC investments typically range from $1 million to $100 million, with a limited number of investments in the $100,000 to $1 million range. To ensure the participation of investors and lenders from the private sector, IFC typically finances no more than 25 percent of the total estimated project costs.

- Are there guidelines for preparing and submitting an investment proposal? 

There is no standard application form for IFC financing. A company seeking to establish a new venture or expand an existing enterprise can approach IFC directly. This is best done by reading About IFC Financing, and by submitting an investment proposal.

- Where do I submit my investment proposal? 

Proposals can be submitted to IFC's sector/industry departments; regional departments at IFC headquarters in Washington; or the IFC field office closest to the location of the proposed project. To determine the appropriate department to submit the proposal to, read more about IFC's corporate structure and investment operations.

IFC's regional field offices contact information:
 


IFC's sector/industry departments contact information:
 



Offering Services to IFC:


- My company would like to offer its services to IFC. How can we do that? 

IFC does procure consultancy services within its investment and advisory projects. If you would like to make the services of your company available to enterprises involved in IFC or World Bank projects, you must register with the World Bank's DACON Center, a consultant firm registration database. This can be done online at http://www.dgmarket.com/dacon/.

Please note, only registered vendors can receive contract awards from IFC, but you do not need to be registered to be eligible to participate in bidding opportunities. Effective April 1, 2009, all bidding opportunities above $50K will be advertised at dgMarket (http://www.dgmarket.com/).

Learn about World Bank Group Procurement...


IFC Publications and Documents:


- How do I obtain an IFC publication or document? 

IFC's "Publications" site is a valuable resource tool where you can find IFC's Annual Reports, the Doing Business report, and other recent corporate publications.

Find more data and documents, development literature, book events, information resources, and more at the World Bank InfoShop.


Linking to IFC Web Sites:

- Can IFC put a link to my business on its Web site? 

IFC encourages other organizations to link to our Web site, but do not accept link exchanges that are not related to our core business. External links to UN institutions, organizations, and other development programs are subject to specific legal terms and conditions.


Careers and Recruitment:

- How do I apply for a job at IFC? How do I find out what jobs are available? 

We encourage you to review the career opportunities available at IFC. Opportunity listings are available for all aspects of our operations, including investment, legal, environment and social development, economics, treasury, financial operations, advisory services, and risk management.

View current opportunities and apply online at http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/Careers_Ext_Content/IFC_External_Corporate_Site/IFC+Careers/Career+Opportunities/.

- Does IFC have internship programs for high school students and college graduates? 

IFC offers a summer internship program. We hire interns each year for a minimum period of four weeks to work on select development projects in Washington, D.C., or in one of IFC's offices worldwide. These are paid positions and are highly competitive. For more information about the program, please visit Summer Internship Web page.

IFC does not have any formal internship programs for high school or college students. However, IFC has several other recruitment programs available for prospective hires. These include opportunities for both recent college graduates and mid-career professionals.

- Will IFC sponsor an individual's education or learning program?

IFC does not offer loans or grants to sponsor individuals in need of financing for education, training, or research.


Fraud and Corruption:

- How do I report fraudulent/corruption activities on behalf of IFC? 

The World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) investigates allegations of fraud or corruption in World Bank Group-financed operations, as well as allegations of staff misconduct within the Bank Group.

Examples of issues that should be reported to INT for further review include suspected contract irregularities and violations of the Bank's procurement guidelines; bid manipulation; bid collusion; coercive practices; fraudulent bids; fraud in contract performance; fraud in an audit inquiry; product substitution; price manipulation; substandard or inferior parts or materials; cost or labor mischarges; kickbacks, bribery, or acceptance of gratuities; abuse of authority; misuse of Bank Group funds or funds entrusted to the Bank Group; travel-related fraud; theft and embezzlement; benefits and allowance fraud; conflict of interest; misrepresentation; forgery; pr involvement of Bank Group staff in any of the aforementioned. Learn more...

- I received an e-mail notifying me that IFC is distributing cash entitlements. Is this true?


No, IFC does not distribute cash entitlements. If you receive a fraudulent e-mail stating that you have won money, a lottery, etc., please do not provide any personal or bank account information, instead notify IFC's General Inquiries and the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity.

More about fraudulent e-mails or checks...


About IFC Projects:


What is an IFC project?

The term "IFC project" refers, traditionally, to a commercial investment made by IFC and its partners—a transaction involving a loan, equity investment, guarantee, or other financial product from IFC, in conjunction with funding from other commercial investors. Today, IFC's projects also encompass a growing number of specific technical assistance and advisory activities. Often, IFC provides a combination of financing and technical assistance to a client company.

IFC undertakes projects only in client countries: that is, developing countries that are members of IFC. Our membership also includes industrialized countries, whose companies often invest alongside IFC. In addition, many of our industrialized members are donors to our technical assistance and advisory operations, both through trust funds and a network of multidonor facilities operated by IFC.

IFC investments typically range in size from $1 million to $100 million.

What are project categories?

IFC uses "project categories" as a concise way of indicating the level of environmental and social concern posted by a proposed investment. Projects are assigned a category of A, B, or C, in descending order of environmental and social sensitivity, or FI, in the case of financial institutions that on-lend to clients who may present environmental and social concerns.

The project category governs how IFC's Disclosure Policy will apply to the proposed investment. For the most sensitive projects, IFC discloses more information and does so farther in advance of the Board discussion that determines whether IFC should provide funding. For more information, see Environmental and Social Categories.

What is the Board's role in an IFC project?

IFC's Board of Directors consists of representatives of all member countries, who meet regularly at headquarters in Washington, D.C. Directors review and decide on all investment projects and provide overall guidance to IFC's management. IFC's Disclosure Policy requires that key project documents be publicly disclosed in advance of the Board discussion.

No IFC investment can go forward to commitment and disbursement of funds without Board approval. But Board approval does not, in itself, ensure that funds will be committed and disbursed for the approved investment. Learn more...

What is an IFC client? 


An IFC client is a legal entity to which IFC provides financial products or services. A client is usually a company, financial institution, or other private enterprise. A client may be either pre-existing enterprise, or a new company set up as part of the project in which IFC is investing.

What is a project sponsor?

A sponsor is a stakeholder or other investor involved in an IFC project. Because IFC is intended to serve as a catalyst for investment from the private sector, we pursue projects in collaboration with other investors or lenders.

Does IFC make money on its investments?

Yes: in fact, our Articles of Agreement require IFC to operate on commercial terms and to make a profit, which we have done every year since our founding in 1956.


Project Status Definitions:

Pending approval:

The investment proposal has not yet been reviewed by the IFC Board of Directors.

Pending signing: 

The IFC Board of Directors has approved the investment, but the investment has not yet been committed. In other words, IFC and the project sponsor have not yet signed the deal with a legally binding agreement.

Pending disbursement: 

IFC and the project sponsor have signed an investment agreement, but funds are yet to be disbursed.

Active: 

IFC has started to disburse funds and/or has taken an equity stake in the company. Disbursements may be ongoing or may be completed. The investment is outstanding.

Completed: 

The loan has been repaid or, in the case of an equity investment, IFC has sold its shares in the company.

Approved + date: 

This is the date the IFC Board of Directors approved the investment. It may or may not be the same date as the projected board date, which is often estimated before an actual board date can be scheduled.

Signed + date: 

This is the date IFC and the project sponsor signed the legally binding investment agreement.

Invested + date: 

This is the date IFC started to disburse funds and/or took an equity stake in the company.


About IFC's Disclosure of Information:

What does IFC disclose about its investment projects?

Each IFC investment project must be presented for consideration and approval by its Board of Directors. Prior to this, IFC makes publicly available two key documents: the Environmental & Social Review Summary (ESRS) and Summary of Proposed Investment (SPI). Learn more about what IFC discloses.

The IFC Exclusion List defines the types of projects that IFC does not finance.

How do I see a listing of all IFC projects? 

In accordance to IFC's public disclosure policy, IFC provides a project database Web site, which displays all projects currently underway. This database allows you to search available projects by specific sector, region, country, or key word. Learn more...

For which projects does IFC disclose environmental documents?


For Category B projects, IFC prepares a summary of the key findings of the environmental review in an Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS). This document includes measures to mitigate, monitor, and manage environmental and social issues. The ESRS is disclosed to the public locally, on IFC's Web site, and at the World Bank InfoShop no later than 30 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors.

For Category A projects, the project sponsor prepares an extensive environmental report, including an evaluation of the project's possible environmental and social impacts; measures designed to manage, mitigate, and monitor those impacts; and details of public consultations. No later than 60 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors, the ESRS is disclosed locally, on IFC's Web site, and at the World Bank InfoShop.

What is a Summary of Proposed Investment (SPI)?

An SPI summarizes the main elements of a project. It covers information on sponsors, shareholders, project cost, the purpose of the project, and environmental issues.

For most projects, the SPI is disclosed to the public on IFC's Web site and in the World Bank InfoShop no later than 30 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors. For a Category A project, the SPI is disclosed to the public no later than 60 days before the project is to be considered by the Board of Directors.

What is Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS)?

For each proposed investment (other than investments expected to have minimal or no social and environmental adverse impacts, or investments in financial intermediary projects), IFC issues a brief summary of its review findings and recommendations: an ESRS.

What information does the ESRS provide?

The ESRS includes the rationale for IFC's categorization of a project; a description of the main social and environmental risks and impacts of the project; and the key measures identified to mitigate those risks in a manner consistent with the Performance Standards. These measures are included in the client's Action Plan.

What is the IFC project (or investment) cycle?

The project (or investment) cycle illustrates the stages a business proposal goes through as it becomes an IFC-financed project.


What if I am not satisfied with the response I received to a request for disclosure of information?


If you believe that your request for information has been unreasonably denied, or that the Policy has been interpreted incorrectly, you may submit a further inquiry to the Disclosure Policy Advisor, who reports directly to IFC's Executive Vice President. The advisor will review your complaint and inform you in writing of his conclusions and reasons for the conclusions. The advisor will endeavor to respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of the further inquiry, unless additional time is required because of the scope or complexity of the complaint.

How do I report complaints regarding social or environmental outcomes of an IFC project? 

Most inquiries about IFC’s projects are requests for disclosure of information, to which IFC responds directly. But if you believe that you are negatively affected by an IFC project, you can instead submit your complaint to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, an independent office that reports directly to the President of the World Bank Group regarding IFC and MIGA projects. Such complaints are addressed by the CAO’s office, through a process separate from IFC itself.

Environmental & Social Categories:

What are project categories A, B, C, and FI?

An environmental and social category is assigned to an investment project after appraisal and before public disclosure during the IFC project/investment cycle. Projects are assigned a category of A, B, or C, in descending order of environmental and social sensitivity, or FI, in the case of financial institutions that on-lend to clients who may present environmental and social concerns.

Category A projects require a minimum 60-day disclosure period. All other projects require at least 30 days.

CATEGORY A
Projects expected to have significant adverse social and/or environmental impacts that are diverse, irreversible, or unprecedented.

CATEGORY B
Projects expected to have limited adverse social and/or environmental impacts that can be readily addressed through mitigation measures.

CATEGORY C
Projects expected to have minimal or no adverse impacts, including certain financial intermediary projects.

CATEGORY FI
Investments in financial intermediaries that themselves have no adverse social and/or environmental impacts but that may finance subprojects with potential impacts.

Environmental & Social Review Summary (ESRS):

 

What is an ESRS?

ESRS stands for Environmental and Social Review Summary. For each proposed Category A or B investment, IFC issues a brief summary of its review findings and recommendations: an ESRS. IFC does not issue an ESRS for Category C or FI projects—that is, for investments expected to have minimal or no social and environmental adverse impacts, or investments in financial intermediary projects.

What information does the ESRS provide?

The ESRS includes the rationale for IFC's categorization of a project; a description of the main social and environmental risks and impacts of the project; and the key measures identified to mitigate those risks in a manner consistent with the Performance Standards. These measures are included in the client's Action Plan.

Is there a deadline associated with the release of the ESRS?

Yes. The ESRS is released prior to consideration of the proposed investment for approval by IFC's Board of Directors (or other relevant internal authority). For Category A projects, it is released no later than 60 days before the Board date; for Category B projects, no later than 30 days before the Board date. Before IFC releases the ESRS, the IFC client reviews its content to verify the factual accuracy of information about the project. The ESRS is released to the public locally, on the IFC Web site, and in the World Bank Infoshop.

Is it possible to revise or add information to an ESRS after it is released?

After its initial disclosure to the public, social and environmental review information may be updated prior to consideration by IFC's Board of Directors (or other relevant internal authority) in order to reflect the revised or additional information. Any such revised or additional information will be made publicly available.

Where can I find recently approved ESRS or SPI documents?

To view the list of recently approved SPI or ESRS documents, please click here.


Summary of Proposed Investment (SPI)

What is an SPI?

SPI stands for Summary of Proposed Investment. Each SPI summarizes the main elements of an IFC project, including information on sponsors, shareholders, project cost, the purpose of the project, and environmental issues.

For most projects, the SPI is disclosed to the public on IFC's Web site and in the World Bank InfoShop no later than 30 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors. For a Category A project, the SPI is disclosed to the public no later than 60 days before the project is to be considered by the Board of Directors.

What information does the SPI contain?

The SPI includes the following information: the identity of the project company; information about the shareholders of the project company; the total project cost, where applicable; the location of the project; a brief description of the project and its purpose; the amount and nature of IFC's investment in the project; the projected date for a decision on the project by IFC's Board of Directors; the project's anticipated development impact; IFC's expected development contribution; IFC's categorization of the project for social and environmental purposes (including, for Category C projects, a brief statement of the rationale for such categorization); and reference to the social and environmental information available for the project, including to any ESRS.

Are there any deadlines associated with SPIs?

Yes. For most projects, the SPI is disclosed to the public on IFC's Web site and in the World Bank InfoShop no later than 30 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors. For a Category A project, the SPI is disclosed to the public no later than 60 days before the project is to be considered by IFC's Board of Directors.

Where can I find recently approved ESRS or SPI documents?

To view the list of recently approved SPI or ESRS documents, please click here.

Procurement:

Please note that IFC is involved only in the financing of projects, and has no part in the procurement process for any of these projects.

The local project company is responsible for all aspects of procurement, such as evaluation of bids and contract awards, and is the contact point for any information regarding the bidding process. The project company is identified in the Summary of Proposed Investment for each project.

Learn more about World Bank Group Procurement...

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