The Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, has a $750m investment pipeline primarily in Iraq’s power and telecoms sectors, according to Ziad Badr, country manager at IFC in Iraq.
“IFC’s main focus has been to help in the diversification of Iraq’s economy away from the oil and gas sectors, which do not create jobs,” Badr told the ongoing Iraq reconstruction conference in Kuwait.
IFC is understood to have been working with the Iraqi government to identify the key areas of investments in line with the country's reconstruction programme.
In addition to focusing on economic diversification, the executive said the IFC has also been focusing on helping to attract investment into Iraq, particularly from the GCC states, which he describes as possessing a better understanding of the risks in Iraq – resulting in “better pricing of these risks”.
IFC is also encouraging successful Iraqi businesses that operate outside of the country to invest in Iraq in order to ensure more capital returns to the local economy.
In addition to providing financing, it is understood that IFC’s advisory arm has been actively engaging with clients across various sectors in Iraq. “We have identified a couple of bankable projects, specifically infrastructure projects, to bring to the market,” the executive said, without specifying if they intend to provide debt or invest in these projects as equity partners.
Badr cited IFC’s early success in Iraq since its initial engagement in 2005, when it invested in a national bank, and since 2011, when it opened an office in Baghdad. “We have seen a 10-fold increase in our activities in Iraq since 2011,” Badr said, adding that they have zero non-performing projects in the country.
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