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“The rising demand from countries across the region for the World Bank’s financial and technical assistance is evidence of the enhanced partnerships that we are developing with countries across MENA, “ said Emmanuel Mbi, Director of Strategy and Operations in the MENA region. “We are doing our best to tailor our responses and instruments to the needs of our partners and to contribute to their efforts to encourage economic growth and to reduce poverty under such challenging conditions.”
IFC's investments in the Middle East and North Africa were around US$1.3 billion in 46 projects in 12 countries in fiscal year 2009. IFC's Advisory Services increased its expenditure to more than $19 million, up substantially from $5.7 million four years ago to support private sector–led growth in the region. To address the effects of the financial crisis in the region, IFC offered investment and advisory services products to support clients in these challenging times. For example, IFC worked closely with many of its client banks across the Middle East and North Africa region to assist them in structuring robust risk management systems to help reverse the decline in trade flows in the region, IFC provided around US$500 million of trade finance to banks in Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen.
“In laying out his vision for the World Bank Group, President Robert Zoellick has suggested six strategic themes. One of them is to help advance development and opportunity in the Arab world. During this year we focused our financial strength and global expertise to bring investment and advisory solutions where they are needed most, especially in less developed countries and countries affected by conflicts. The success of our investments is demonstrating the viability of these markets. This in return contributes to the broader goal of spurring economic growth and creating much needed jobs in a region with high unemployment rates," said Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
In the MENA region, MIGA is facilitating investments that can help countries overcome their over-reliance on oil income, while creating jobs and supporting the private sector as they make investments inside and outside the region. Since 1988, MIGA has issued nearly US$1 billion in guarantees in the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as some US$881 million in guarantees to MENA-based companies and banks investing in developing countries outside the region.
In October, 2008, Iraq joined MIGA. "There is a growing business interest in investing in Iraq. However the business climate is not yet there,” said Izumi Kobayashi, MIGA’s Executive Vice President. “We are tailoring our instruments to enhance our responsiveness to support Iraq and other MENA countries in managing a stable economy and promoting private sector investments in a developing business environment,” she added.