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Despite the global turbulence caused by COVID-19, our staff continued to vigorously pursue IFC’s mission, recognizing the critical importance of moving swiftly to contribute to the global recovery effort.
Quickly adjusting to the new normal meant working remotely, under lockdown, without the option to travel and meet with clients and partners in person. Our staff made multiple adaptations in order to succeed, including:
- Working around the clock to rapidly provide loans to clients in need, without unnecessary delays, as part of IFC’s $8 billion COVID-19 fast track financing facility. Through this facility, we initiated a decision-making approach that focuses on key risks and speed of execution.
- Convening conferences online to promote sustained global dialogue on important issues. In June, over 6,000 viewers participated in IFC’s 2020 Sustainability Exchange, an interactive event that convened global leaders across all infrastructure sectors. The half-day virtual event replaced what was intended to be a three-day, in-person session in Vienna.
- Making optimal use of technology to maintain relationships with clients and conduct critical business. Staff replaced in-person meetings with virtual ones. In-depth client appraisals — a prerequisite to closing deals — were completed using everything from Webex to WhatsApp.
This kept projects moving along with efficiency and enabled us to close deals without delay.
Internal processes were adjusted to support a seamless transition to working in new environments. IFC’s information technology specialists provided 24/7 support, dealing with the challenge of different bandwidths, internet service providers, and home office set-ups, to offer uncompromised access to technology. Our Human Resources staff onboarded staff virtually and conducted trainings online.
Though it has been challenging, our staff’s response to the current environment has transformed the way that IFC does business, allowing us to keep delivering on our mandate.
Voices of Staff: Turning Crisis Into Opportunity
Regardless of the diversity of their jobs, experiences, and backgrounds, our staff shared a common challenge in 2020: coping with the COVID-19 crisis. Here is what a few of them said about their experience:
“We’ve grown accustomed to political and economic uncertainty and insecurity. But this time it’s different and much more challenging.”
— Manale El Haddad, Finance Assistant, Lebanon
“I feel privileged to be in an organization that’s creating opportunities for the private sector, especially during difficult times like these.”
— Jotework Ayele, Associate Operations Officer, Ethiopia
“The challenges presented by COVID-19 make the work both exciting but also heart wrenching — in the end, we want to see clients succeed.”
— Robin Volk, Associate Investment Officer, Washington, DC
“I see people coming from different teams working together trying to find solutions — all understanding where we need to be. There’s a joint effort at finding a way to support our clients.”
— Rana Karadsheh, Regional Industry Director, Singapore