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After years of political and economic isolation, IFC is helping Togo get back on its feet through a strategy that calls for attracting investment to the country, reducing barriers to entry for businesses, and expanding the availability of credit for small and medium enterprises which are the engines of economic growth and job creation.
The West African nation has gained a measure of stability in recent years and is making progress in kickstarting its economy, investing in infrastructure projects and helping grow its small and medium businesses that are responsible for most of the jobs in the country. Increased investments in Togo supports IFC’s global priority of doing more in the world’s poorest countries and the regional push to provide greater support for Francophone African countries.
Togo has put infrastructure front and center in its development agenda, and the Lome Container Port, for which IFC is helping mobilize capital, is expected to be the biggest foreign investment project to date at €350 million
“Lome Container Terminal project will give Togo an unrivaled deep sea port in the region,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC Vice President, Treasury and Information Technology, during a recent visit . “The terminal will put Togo on the map as one of the world's major port cities. This huge infrastructure project will support regional and global trade that is critical to Togo's future.”
IFC’s investment portfolio in Togo spans a diverse range of sectors from financial markets and infrastructure development to investments in targeted industries and advisory services. IFC’s total portfolio of $250 million in Togo includes equity investments in Contour Global, a major independent power project, and Heidelberg Cement Africa.
Glilbert Houngbo, the Prime Minister of Togo, said, “IFC's involvement in Togo is welcome. IFC can be assured that attracting private investment and moving infrastructure projects forward is a priority for our government and we will do everything we can to support this.”
Other major investments include a loan of $1.2 million committed to Transam, a soap manufacturing company, as well as a capitalization package of convertible and nonconvertible subordinated loans totaling $8 million to Ecobank Togo, through the Capitalization and ALAC Funds.
IFC is planning to conduct a capacity-building workshop for SMEs in Lome in December, 2011, followed by introduction of IFC's Business Edge and SME Toolkit in conjunction with the local chamber of commerce. IFC is reviewing opportunities to support the agribusiness sector through investments and advisory.
IFC Country Manager Mary-Jean Moyo said, "Togo is an exciting economy entering a new era. It still offers a challenging business environment, but IFC is demonstrating what can be done here and we are seeking opportunities to do more."
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