IFC helps unstable regions rebuild their private sectors and foster entrepreneurship.
For the 1.5 billion people living in areas affected by conflict and instability, starting over isn’t easy. War and civil unrest reduce security, damage infrastructure and trade, destroy the regulatory framework, and deny potential entrepreneurs access to credit.
IFC provides immediate and long-term support to help such regions recover. We help them rebuild their private sectors and foster entrepreneurship, and help get their populations back to work.
In Rwanda, a country that lost as much as one-fifth of its population to genocide less than two decades ago, economic growth and private sector investment are key to alleviating poverty. Yet the country’s entrepreneurs have long had to contend with tedious legal and administrative roadblocks—red tape that makes it difficult to register a company, settle a commercial dispute, or engage in cross-border trade.
Through the Rwanda Investment Climate Reform program, IFC helped the Rwandan government update complicated regulations. The result was more than 16,000 new jobs and 8,000 new enterprises. Rwanda is now one of the world’s leading investment-climate reformers, according to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report. The improved investment climate makes entrepreneurs more likely to start a business, create jobs, and invest in the country.
In the Middle East and North Africa—where the Arab Spring has deepened development challenges—IFC has invested more than $2 billion since the unrest began in 2011. We have launched initiatives designed to expand access to finance for small and medium enterprises, address youth unemployment, improve job skills, and increase funding for critical infrastructure initiatives.
Advisory services are typically IFC’s first step in post-conflict regions—they attract investment and, on the individual level, can be transformative for entrepreneurs seeking a fresh start.
In mineral-rich Côte d’Ivoire, for example, political and military turmoil for the past 10 years has nearly crippled the mining industry. IFC invested about $1.2 million through the West African Sama Resources to support a nickel and copper exploration project. The project will create jobs and promote growth. It will also establish good environmental and social standards for future investment in the country.
In FY12, IFC invested $537 million in 45 projects in fragile and conflict-affected areas, and delivered a $31 million advisory services program. In February, the World Bank opened a new Global Center on Conflict, Security, and Development in Nairobi, Kenya. Through much-needed financial support and expertise, the Center will help poor, war-torn communities rebuild their economies.