IFC calls for private fixed investment

14 May 2008

The International Finance Corporation has called for more private investment in South Africa’s infrastructure sector, adding that it was ready to engage with stakeholders to find solutions to the country’s power shortage and increase private investment in health, education and other social infrastructure.

“The IFC seeks to expand its advisory services to governments and increase investments in the region’s infrastructure,” said IFC business advisory services vice president Rachel Kyte in a statement this week.

“We can add value by lending our expertise to governments in structuring private sector participation in infrastructure projects, and by helping private companies improve their energy efficiency.”

Kyte, a leader within the IFC at demonstrating how high standards are good for business and help develop markets, drew attention to the value that companies could create through paying greater attention to environmental and social issues.

She emphasised that companies could manage risk better and find new business opportunities related to sustainability by adopting good environmental and social practices.

Kyte was recently in South Africa on her first visit to the region in her new capacity as vice president, to review IFC projects and engage stakeholders on ways to improve the climate for private sector investment.

She visited Lonmin, one of South Africa’s leading platinum miners, in which the IFC has invested US$150-million to support the miners expansion and $6-million more toward a joint initiative to increase supply opportunities for small and medium enterprises and in community development activities surrounding the company’s mining area.

“The IFC has a significant presence in South Africa, through investments in Lonmin and other projects,” she said. “We want to do more with partners to develop sustainable projects that empower local communities and serve previously underserved markets such as small and medium enterprises.”

During the 2007 financial year, the IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – committed $1.4-billion to 52 projects across sub-Saharan Africa, $172-million of which went toward infrastructure projects.

SAinfo reporter

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