The need for infrastructure improvements in the developing world is critical. Untold numbers of businesses suffer from lack of reliable power for industrial processes or because they cannot get their goods to the market. At the most basic level, millions of lives are threatened every day for lack of clean water or safe sanitation.
Investment in infrastructure projects forms a key part of IFC's institutional strategy. IFC delivers landmark projects with high direct and indirect impact on the poor. In recent years, our investment strategy has shifted to frontier countries and regions, where our services are most needed.
In fiscal year 2012, IFC funding for infrastructure and natural resources projects in Africa surpassed $1 billion for the first time.
In all of IFC's financings, our primary objective is to strengthen the borrowers ability to deliver key infrastructure services such as water, transportation, gas and electricity. IFc’s advisory services works to improve efficiency and accountability as service providers.
Because of IFC’s increased concern about global climate change our resources are increasingly focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. We have also become increasingly more active in supporting water projects to avert a looming crisis.
Oil, Gas and Mining
IFC’s Oil & Gas team provides equity and loan financing to small and midsize independents and larger players in the oil and gas sector. Our mission is to help companies reach their full potential in emerging markets and benefit the countries and communities in which they operate.
IFC’s Mining Group provides equity and loans for mining companies to build projects that reward owners, investors, and local communities. We offer an integrated approach that combines financing with advisory services that help maximize social benefits while minimizing environmental footprints. Under our unique Early Equity Program, IFC supports mining projects at the pre-feasibility stage by becoming a shareholder and long-term partner.
We support clients in all areas and stages of operations, including:
Over the last 10 years, Africa has undergone a quiet revolution in information and communication technologies. Between 1995 and 2005, private investors and operators invested some $25bn in ICT in the region resulting in a rapid expansion of networks. As a result, by 2006, approximately 17% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, or some 110 million people, had a mobile phone subscription, up from less than 1% in the 1990s.
Despite the explosive growth of ICT services in Sub-Saharan Africa, many challenges remain. Prices remain high, effectively excluding many people. Although competition between operators is bringing down prices in some countries, cuts are necessary to make connections affordable for everybody. Further, advanced services, such as broadband Internet, are not widely available and are prohibitively expensive where they are. Improving the broadband infrastructure and delivering affordable advanced ICT services to all will therefore be the next major challenge in the ICT sector in Africa. Achieving this will complete the ICT revolution that has already begun.
The World Bank Group aims to address some of the gaps and constraints in the communications infrastructure through policy and catalytic investments. The goal is to improve the quality and delivery of ICT across the region, improving the daily lives of the people of Africa and helping to support industry and economic development.
The World Bank Group: A Unique Partner
Global Information and Communication Technologies (GICT) is a joint department of the World Bank and IFC. Bringing together IFC’s experience in the private sector and the World Bank’s policy and regulatory expertise, GICT serves as the core department for programs related to ICTs in developing countries.
Information and communication technologies are opening new opportunities in Africa. Through extending the use of ICTs, the World Bank Group provides governments, private companies, and community organizations with the expertise and capital needed to develop and apply ICTs. The aim is to stimulate sustainable economic growth, increase productivity, improve public services, promote transparency and good governance, enhance social inclusion, and ultimately reduce poverty. Linked to this mission are three goals:
Accelerating the participation of developing countries in the global information economy;
Expanding the benefits of these technologies through increased competition and private investment in information infrastructure;
Fostering sustainable economic and social development through innovative technologies, with a special emphasis on the needs of the poor in developing countries.
Our Track Record
The World Bank Group is the largest multi-lateral financier and provider of policy advice in the field of ICT in developing countries. Over the past five years, the World Bank Group has provided more than US$3 billion of funding in over 80 countries through its three financing arms; the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or World Bank), IFC, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):
The World Bank has supported reforms in over 80 client governments and provided approximately US$750 million in loans for ICT related projects. This support is in addition to lending projects in other sectors—such as health, education, trade, and finance— which have ICT components. It is estimated that US$1 billion to 1.5 billion in lending is provided to these projects annually. Trust funds administered by the IBRD have contributed an additional US$50 million to the ICT sector in the past five years.
Syndicated Loan Program
IFC provided approximately US$1.5 billion in financing to ICT companies in developing countries. Additionally, through its syndicated loan program, the IFC offers commercial banks and other financial institutions the chance to lend to IFC-financed projects that they might not otherwise consider. These loans have contributed another US$1 billion toward the sector.
MIGA, as an agency that provides political risk insurance to foreign investments in developing countries, has supplied an additional US$700 million to the ICT sector through private investment guarantees.
ICT is one of the best performing sectors in the World Bank Group’s portfolio, both in terms of returns and development impact.
Our Products and Services
The World Bank Group has a number of instruments through which it channels its support and implements its ICT strategy:
Policy advice for the ICT sector, including telecommunications liberalization, privatization, and regulation; Internet services, such as e-connectivity, e-government, and e-commerce; and postal and broadcast services
Loans to governments to subsidize private providers of ICT infrastructure to rural households and the urban poor as well as public postal networks
Investment capital for private provision of ICT infrastructure and services
Grants for innovative projects and knowledge sharing on development opportunities offered by ICTs
Research, analysis, and advice used to engage clients in policy dialogue and sector analysis
Knowledge sharing and capacity building to help countries assess what they need to be effective players in the global knowledge economy, to share development issues, efforts, and opportunities, and to deliver distance learning activities.