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CAIRO, 28 August 2018 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, stepped up its investments in the Middle East and North Africa, committing a record $2 billion to support the region’s private sector, boost innovation, drive economic growth, and create jobs.

IFC provided over $1 billion in financing for its own account and mobilized another $1 billion from other investors in the region in fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30. IFC’s support enabled businesses in the region to provide more than 119,000 jobs, distribute power to about 500,000 people, and deliver health care to more than 2.9 million people.

IFC’s focus was on creating new markets, supporting power and renewable energy projects, and helping entrepreneurs—including by expanding access to finance to high-potential technology startups. IFC also worked to boost economic opportunities in conflict-affected countries such as Iraqand Afghanistan.

“Our commitments in FY18 set a new record for IFC in the region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With the help of our colleagues from the World Bank and other development finance institutions, we’re continuing to push the boundaries of development finance, offering new solutions and crowding in private investors for key projects that can help MENA countries grow and create jobs and prosperity.”

Among key projects in FY18 were a $653 million financing package for a landmark solar array in Egypt, the first green-bonds program in Lebanon and the Levant, and a solar project in Gaza, the first privately financed energy project in more than a decade. IFC also provided $269 million to Zain Iraq, the country’s largest mobile phone operator to help rebuild Iraq’s telecommunications sector.

IFC also runs a large advisory services program in the region, with 83 active projects valued at over $128 million at the end of FY18. That work focuses on creating a business-friendly environment and supporting entrepreneurship, bolstering infrastructure development, reducing gender inequality, expanding access to finance for smaller businesses, and combating climate change.

In FY19, IFC plans to maintain its strategic focus on creating new markets across MENA by supporting the region’s fast-growing renewable energy sector and helping young entrepreneurs deliver innovations, as well as working to expand access to finance for small and medium sized businesses and helping empower women