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Rice. Eggs. Tomatoes. They top the grocery lists of many Bangladeshis. But for people in crowded cities like Dhaka, slogging through traffic to get to the store is often more time-consuming than the shopping itself.

That’s why Waseem Alim started his successful e-grocery delivery company, Chaldal, in 2013. Chaldal leads a new wave of technology start-ups in Bangladesh, and has received venture capital from several investors, including IFC.

As Bangladesh and other emerging-market economies develop a start-up investment culture, IFC is committed to their active participation in the global e-marketplace. Modern information and communication technologies make it easier for the poor to obtain access to services and resources. These technologies create opportunities and make markets more efficient.

Employees of IFC-backed Chaldal in Bangladesh use technology to deliver more than 1,500 grocery orders a day. Photo: Chaldal.

IFC expands the availability of such technologies by channeling investments toward private companies that build modern communications infrastructure and information-technology businesses. In FY18, we invested $376 million in initiatives related to technology, including funds mobilized from other investors — expanding our portfolio in this sector to more than $2.4 billion.

In Mexico, Red Compartida, the largest telecommunications project in the country’s history, went live in 2018 — well ahead of schedule. By 2024, the IFC-backed 4G-LTE voice and data platform is expected to provide access to online banking, health, communications, and education services to more than 92 percent of Mexicans.

Technology is also transforming Africa. In 2018, IFC helped Partech Ventures launch a €100 million fund that is expected to become the largest venture-capital fund focused on digital-technology start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa. IFC’s €15 million equity investment is our first in a mainstream venture-capital fund in the region. We also invested $6 million in Africa’s Talking, a mobile-tech company that creates critical digital-infrastructure software for entrepreneurs across the continent.

Large-scale changes are underway in China, too. Truck drivers and freight shippers across the country have improved their logistics operations by connecting through Full Truck Alliance, an online marketplace also known as “Uber for trucks.” The platform connects long-haul drivers with shippers throughout the country — which means these drivers no longer have to share up to half of their earnings with intermediaries. IFC invested $15 million for our own account. IFC Asset Management Company mobilized an additional $32 million through the IFC Catalyst Fund and the IFC Global Emerging Markets Fund of Funds.