This continent is home to some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for those working to raise living standards, reduce poverty, and build a more sustainable, inclusive world.
To help strengthen the private sector role in Africa’s development, IFC draws on all its core functions: investing, advising, mobilizing capital, and managing assets.
IFC made new investments of $4.7 billion in the year to June 2015, including $1.2 billion mobilized from other investors. Its advisory services projects support companies and markets in more than 30 countries across the region.
IFC strategy in Africa has three main priorities: bridging the infrastructure gap, helping to build a productive real sector across the continent, and becoming a leader in fostering inclusive business approaches.
The priorities are aimed at addressing Africa’s big challenges: rapidly increasing urbanization, the need to industrialize to achieve structural transformation of its economies, and grow and expand small and medium enterprises to create jobs that reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity.
In infrastructure, IFC has targeted helping increase energy supply and power transmission, and improving regional transport. IFC places a special emphasis on helping fragile and conflict affected countries expand access to power, including through scaling up solar power generation on a competitive basis.
To create a more competitive and productive real sector and stimulate job creation, IFC is pursuing investments in agribusiness value chains, recognizing that 60 percent of Africans derive their livelihoods from agriculture. IFC is helping encourage modern retail in the food sector, increase exports, improve yields, and support commodity exchanges and financial institutions dedicated to serving farmers and agribusiness enterprises. IFC is also supporting job creation through labor-intensive businesses that address the housing value chain, manufacture construction materials, develop properties, and finance mortgages.
To lead in the creation of inclusive business IFC is encouraging an improved business enabling and regulatory environment. IFC supports effort to improve small business organization and capacity building. IFC is encouraging programs and initiatives that improve access to markets. Leveraging our extensive network of financial institution clients, IFC is supporting effort to increase access to finance through a wide range of product offerings, including leasing and credit lines, among others. IFC is encouraging the expansion of low cost technologies such as mobile banking that support smaller businesses and primary producers.
Supporting financial markets to help reach its goals accounts for a substantial portion of IFC’s business in the region. IFC looks to make an impact through its projects in conflict affected states, that reduce climate change, promote regional integration or South-South trade, and that have high environmental and social standards.
We work to increase incomes across Africa through sustainable, inclusive growth, building on the momentum in more successful countries. In others IFC helps to put some of the essential building blocks of private sector development in place: basic infrastructure (especially power and transport) to support agribusiness and manufacturing competitiveness; the improved investment climates and access to finance needed to scale up business growth; and expanded private participation in health and education to serve a growing African population.
Summarized in a few words, these far-reaching efforts all reflect IFC’s corporate goal: creating opportunity where it is needed most.