Supporting Dynamic Companies

Workers at Hope Bakery in Liberia. IFC's investment through a fund helped the bakery move to a new, modern facility. © WAVF

High-potential local firms are key to job creation and poverty reduction in developing countries. But they are often blocked from taking their businesses to the next level.

Brimming with entrepreneurial energy, these emerging market companies often find limited access to finance and management skills stalling their growth—holding them back from hiring workers, increasing incomes, and improving living standards.

Private equity funds are an effective way to strengthen them. They help build the dynamic, job-creating companies that drive prosperity, provide essential goods and services, and strengthen a growing middle class.

Focusing on key industries such as manufacturing, retail, health, education, agribusiness, and business solutions to climate change, IFC invests about $500 million a year in private equity funds—boldly backing local firms that typically do not yet trade on any stock exchange.

Our client fund managers identify and invest risk capital in these promising firms, often also providing hands-on business advice that builds investee firms’ value before eventually exiting at the right time via acquisition, buy-out, or stock market listing.

IFC has a $5 billion portfolio invested in 270 private equity funds. These funds have together backed nearly 1,460 firms that collectively show a 22 percent annual rate of job creation.

 

See some examples of our work:

Through a $14 million investment in West Africa Ventures Fund (WAVF), IFC supported the expansion of a local rice milling plant and a modern bakery in Liberia—following the devastating effects of the Ebola crisis.

Fabrar is the country’s only industrial rice producer, purchasing the cereal from local growers and milling it for sale on the local market. Our investment has helped the company expand its capacity by 30 times, enabling it to reach new markets.

Our investment in Hope Bakery, which provides bread and other confectionaries to consumers at affordable prices, has supported its move to a new facility with modern equipment. WAVF was developed under the SME Ventures Program, an IFC initiative that provides innovative solutions for small and medium enterprises in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

IFC has invested in 17 funds dedicated to clean technologies, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, including the $418 million IFC Catalyst Fund managed by IFC Asset Management Company. This fund invests in funds that provide growth capital to companies developing innovative ways to address climate change in emerging markets.

One leading example of IFC Catalyst Fund’s investments is the Cape Town-based Evolution One Fund, which has raised $100 million in investments to deliver more than 200 megawatts of new grid-connected capacity to power Southern Africa’s low carbon future.

Another is the Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund, the first in the region raising $164 million to invest in utility-scale renewable energy and resource efficiency projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each project will use commercially proven technology to generate up to 10 MW of renewable energy from solar, wind, and mini-hydro sources.