In the year ending June 2007 the IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, spent $1.2bn across the Middle East and North Africa, including investments in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“We are looking to invest close to $1.5 this fiscal year,” says Gulrez Hoda, associate director of the IFC in the Middle East and North Africa. “Our office in Dubai aims to tap into surplus capital in the GCC. People here are asking how we can help companies from the GCC go out to emerging markets. There is a lot of interest here.”

The corporation is currently working on five public-private partnership projects in Egypt, including the country’s first education private finance initiative to build 350 schools.

It is also advising the government in Yemen on developing strategies to encourage private investment in the financial, infrastructure, power and agricultural sectors.