IFC partners with the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Insurance Agency and the Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation to design new insurance products that aim to protect Filipino farmers against typhoon-related losses.
Only three in 10 people in developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific save money in banks, a World Bank study shows. But mobile phones are now changing the way low-income households and rural entrepreneurs keep, send, and receive money.
IFC’s advice on access to finance makes basic banking available to more households at lower rates. Our largest programs in the region focus on small and medium enterprise (SME) finance, sustainable energy finance, and microfinance. IFC also supports the development of credit bureaus, movable assets registries, and new payments systems (such as mobile phone banking services) that reduce costs for banks serving smaller clients.
Removal of policy and administrative barriers to starting and running a business is central to boosting the economy and creating jobs in low- and middle-income countries. Alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation in the Pacific island of Tonga for example, have cut the number of days to settle commercial disputes to 50, down from more than 300 if pursued through the courts.
Experts estimate that East Asia and the Pacific needs around $200 billion annually to finance basic infrastructure services, such as electricity, water, roads, and ports. Through its advice on public-private partnerships, IFC aims to increase access to these services, facilitate private investments, and improve government finances. Our transactions in the region focus on power generation and distribution, particularly in rural areas, as well as renewable energy and water supply. IFC’s transactions are expected to improve access to services for one million people, reduce government subsidies by $100 million, and facilitate $50 million in private investment.
Sustainable Business Advisory
East Asia and the Pacific struggles with countless environmental and social challenges. In response, IFC partners with companies and governments to transform markets to be more equitable and less carbon intensive. We focus on addressing climate change, leveraging labor and social capital, and preventing biodiversity loss. In Indonesia, for example, we help forestry companies cope with costs associated with planting on degraded and difficult to access land. Such reforestation helps to quell one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases—the cutting down of trees.
IFC also helps boost the contribution that larger, often international, corporations can make to the local economy in poor countries. We support companies raising the quality of local firms’ products to a level where they become eligible suppliers. Once these small producers operate to internationally recognized quality and safety standards, opportunities open up to sell their products as part of larger supply and distribution chains. We also help build markets for small and medium enterprises as well as larger companies by advising them and financial institutions on ways to improve their corporate governance practices and build their managerial capacity.