Letter from Philippe Le Houérou, IFC Chief Executive Officer

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Fiscal 2018 was a historic year for the World Bank Group. Our shareholders endorsed a $13 billion paid-in capital increase for IBRD and IFC — including $7.5 billion for IBRD and $5.5 billion for IFC. For IFC, this capital increase will more than triple the cumulative paid-in capital that we have received since inception.

In addition, our shareholders agreed to suspend IFC transfers to the International Development Association (IDA). As a result, the paid-in capital plus the saved retained earnings from the suspension of IDA transfers will total $9.2 billion in additional capital to support IFC operations between now and 2030.

This constitutes a clear vote of confidence in our strategic priorities for the years ahead. But it comes with high expectations: We must deliver on our strategy to achieve high impact, particularly in some of the world’s toughest markets. We project that by 2030, we will have to more than double our annual commitments to reach $48 billion in total. We pledged to significantly increase our investments in IDA countries and in fragile and conflict-affected areas. We also pledged to step up our climate investments and gender-related interventions.

This year, we started to roll out the new tools and instruments designed the year before. At the same time, we changed our organizational structure, and delivered record levels of investments.

ROLLING OUT NEW TOOLS AND APPROACHES

We rolled out new tools to reduce risks, select projects more strategically, and measure development results more rigorously:

  • To Maximize Finance for Development, the World Bank Group adopted a methodical approach that we call the Cascade — a decision-making sequence that prioritizes private sector solutions. As you can see on the home page of this Annual Report, the Cascade can be visualized as a series of waterfalls — each waterfall representing a step along the private/public solution and financing mix.
  • IDA18 IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window, a $2.5 billion de-risking facility that helps address high-risk projects and overcome the challenge of limited access to local-currency loans in IDA countries and in fragile and conflict-affected areas. In FY18, we delivered our first transactions and developed a pipeline of projects that will benefit from this window in the next two years.
  • Country Private Sector Diagnostics and Sector Deep Dives, which enable us to identify what needs to be done to create markets in each country and in each sector. These two diagnostic pieces will serve as a base for strengthened country strategies. The latter will outline the upstream agenda required to enable the private sector to come in and help close development gaps. They will also identify IFC’s specific advisory and investment program deliverables in every country.
  • Creating Markets Advisory Window, a funding facility to support upstream work in IDA-eligible and fragile and conflict-affected countries. In FY18, resources from this window enabled diagnostic work that is helping us focus our advisory work to create markets and develop project pipelines.
  • Improved Project Selection, with two new tools. The first is the Anticipated Impact Measurement and Monitoring (AIMM) system, which assesses proposed projects according to their ex-ante — or expected — development impact. The AIMM methodology and associated scoring is fully functional for all IFC investment projects since January 1, 2018; it will be expanded to advisory projects in FY19. The second is Carbon Pricing, which began May 1 for all project-finance investments in the cement, chemicals, and thermal power sectors. This will help IFC select more low-emission projects, in line with the recommendations of the Report of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices.

 

"IFC delivered record levels of investment finance in FY18 — thanks to the talent and dedication of our staff."

 

NEW ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

To complement FY17’s organizational changes — which included the creation of the Economics & Private Sector Development and the Partnerships, Communications & Outreach teams — in FY18, we focused on Operations and rebalanced the matrix between IFC’s industry and regional teams to better leverage the full range of resources and capabilities available in IFC:

  • A New Structure, which will allow us to fully benefit from our local presence and global sector knowledge and expertise. This includes a Chief Operating Officer to oversee all IFC operations. The teams under the new IFC Regional Vice Presidents are working in close collaboration with Global Industry Senior Directors to deliver tailored solutions for each country. Guided by substantive country strategies, stronger IFC regional teams also help us solidify our collaboration with the Bank and MIGA, and ensure that “the Cascade approach” is systematically designed and implemented at the country level.
  • Advisory Reforms, which are establishing a tighter link between our advisory and investment work to prioritize upstream work and proactively develop projects. At the end of FY18, we moved most of the cross-cutting advisory teams with IFC investment staff. This will allow us to better leverage our advisory experience and insights and focus on Creating Markets priorities.

DELIVERING

Despite all these changes, IFC delivered record levels of investment finance in FY18 — thanks to the talent and dedication of our staff. IFC provided a record $23.3 billion in financing to private companies, up from $19.3 billion in FY17. This growth reflects an unprecedented level of mobilization — at $11.7 billion in FY18 compared with $7.5 billion in FY17.

Nearly 30 percent of our commitments went to support development in the poorest countries: those eligible to borrow from IDA. Climate-related investments accounted for a record 36 percent of our financing for the year. In addition, we increased our focus on gender by helping women access financial services, by supporting female entrepreneurs as they expand their businesses, and by fostering gender parity in the corporate world. We also continued to deliver advisory solutions to clients in developing countries — especially in IDA countries and in fragile and conflict-affected areas. About 57 percent of IFC’s Advisory program was delivered to clients in IDA countries and 19 percent in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Twenty-seven percent of the program was climate-related. In addition, almost 45 percent of new advisory projects included a focus on gender impact in project design — up from a third last year.

We were also honored to receive more than 40 awards this year — a strong endorsement by third parties of our ability to deliver innovative projects and solutions.

This past year we laid the foundation for us to implement the new IFC strategy — with our capital increase, renewed support from our shareholders, a new structure, and new tools and approaches to deliver. This foundational work will position IFC to actively participate in the “billions to trillions” agenda and the reshaping of development finance.


Philippe Le Houérou
IFC Chief Executive Officer