IFC supports landmark projects that can promote prosperity in some of the poorest countries.
About 1.2 billion people—nearly a fifth of humanity—live without electricity. An estimated 880 million people lack access to safe water, and more than 1 billion people don’t have access to either an all-weather road or telephone services.
Infrastructure shortages in the developing world are a key constraint to economic growth. With more efficient infrastructure, millions can benefit from access to clean water and safe sanitation. Companies can take their goods to market more quickly and cheaply. Countries with a modern infrastructure are better able to attract foreign investment.
Expanding and modernizing infrastructure are priorities for IFC—particularly in Africa, and particularly in the transport and power sectors. We invest in projects that can promote prosperity in some of the poorest countries, and help governments design and implement public-private partnerships.
In Sub-Saharan Africa—where the need for infrastructure improvement is most urgent—IFC is taking the lead to support the expansion of energy generation. In FY13, we invested more than $1 billion in infrastructure projects in the region, including funds mobilized from other investors. Our work included several innovative solar-power projects.
In Côte d’Ivoire, which is emerging from years of political turmoil, we arranged a $345 million package to modernize the Azito Thermal Power Plant. Modernization will enable the plant to generate 50 percent more energy without using any additional gas. The plant will become one of the largest independent power generators in the region, helping ease power shortages and producing significant savings for Ivoirians who now have to rely on expensive backup electricity systems.
We provided $125 million for our own account for the Azito project. Acting as lead arranger, we mobilized the balance from five European development finance institutions and the West African Development Bank.
In areas of Sub-Saharan Africa that are not yet connected to the grid, we’re stepping up our Lighting Africa project with the World Bank and our donor partners. We are helping people switch from inefficient and expensive fuel-based lighting sources such as kerosene lamps to more affordable and climate-smart alternatives—such as solar lamps and dynamo-powered lights similar to those used on bicycles.
The program has already improved access to clean lighting for 6.9 million people in the African continent, avoiding the emission of over 138,000 tons of greenhouse gases—equivalent to taking 26,000 cars off the road. We are leading a similar initiative in Asia, aiming to provide off-grid lighting products to 2 million people in rural areas of India by 2015.