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IFC Addresses Market Gaps in Latin America and the Caribbean with Record Year in FY 2007


IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, had another record year of investments in the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean region, with a strong emphasis on addressing market gaps and on sustainability, according to IFC’s Annual Report released today.

This past fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2007, IFC committed $1.78 billion for 68 private sector projects in Latin America and the Caribbean and mobilized an additional $1.12 billion through loan participations and structured finance. IFC’s financing was broadly distributed throughout the region, with the largest support for companies in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

“Although market conditions have improved significantly, many segments of the region’s economy continue to be underserved, including small and medium enterprises and people with lower and middle incomes. IFC is expanding its focus in these areas,” said Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We will also continue helping clients raise their environmental, social, and corporate governance standards to be more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.”

This fiscal year, 43 percent of IFC’s commitments in the region were focused on micro, small, and medium enterprises and housing finance, with a total investment of $771 million in 30 projects. This includes $221 million to SMEs in the export sector through 12 projects in IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, commitments for housing finance amounting to $375 million, and $175 million for microfinance and SME financing.

With this strategy, IFC has increased its developmental impact in Latin America and the Caribbean. For example, in 2006 IFC’s microfinance clients reached over 2.6 million micro entrepreneurs with loans of up to $2.2 billion. IFC’s banking sector clients reached 99,320 SMEs, with loans of close to $7 billion. IFC’s housing finance projects this year helped generate over 170,000 mortgages for low- and middle-income people in the region.

IFC has also tripled its local currency financing in the region in just two years, with 30.3 percent of commitments totaling $540 million. This is especially important to borrowers whose businesses focus on the domestic market and whose earnings are mainly in local currencies.

IFC’s advisory services in the Latin America and the Caribbean have also expanded significantly, with emphasis on improving the business environment by simplifying municipal regulations and procedures. This program has helped register more than 20,000 new firms across the region, bringing them into the formal economy and improving their access to finance. IFC’s business enabling environment program is operating in 30 municipalities in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru.

In FY07, IFC invested over $8 billion globally for its own account and mobilized nearly $4 billion more in its client countries. Expenditures for advisory services, funded by donors, IFC itself, and clients, reached nearly $197 million.

IFC’s Annual Report
The Annual Report’s broader scope includes sections on IFC’s investment products and advisory services; new coverage of industry departments, as well as regions; partnerships with governments, foundations, and civil society; and collaboration across the World Bank Group. A new section on “How We Work” provides information on IFC and Bank Group governance, the stages of IFC’s investment and advisory project cycles, and data on staff, executive compensation, and the Corporation’s carbon footprint.

The report’s single-volume format includes IFC’s financial statements for FY07, management’s discussion and analysis, and new third-party assurance on IFC’s sustainability and development effectiveness information. The report’s Web site,, includes listings of FY07 investments and advisory projects; the investment portfolio as of June 30, 2007; detailed information on IFC’s Board of Governors and Board of Directors; and translations of the report and its summary as these become available.


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