IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has made a groundbreaking commitment of $11 billion to support 108 projects in Asia and the Pacific region. The aim of these investments is to address poverty and promote economic prosperity, even in the face of challenges such as climate change, gender inequality, food and energy insecurity, and rising inflation.
This year’s commitment represents a significant 10% increase compared to the previous year. The investment includes $4.7 billion in long-term financing, $3.4 billion in mobilization, and $2.9 billion in short-term trade and supply-chain finance.
One of the key focuses of IFC’s investments has been tackling critical issues such as climate change and marine-plastic waste. To address these concerns, 39% of the long-term financing has been dedicated to projects that promote sustainability. Examples of these projects include Mongolia’s first green bond, blue finance initiatives in Thailand, electric vehicle infrastructure in India, and sustainability-linked finance in South and Southeast Asia.
Improving access to finance for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) has also been a priority for IFC. A total of $4.7 billion has been committed to financial institutions that support these businesses, with a specific focus on women-owned enterprises. MSMEs play a significant role in the region’s economy, accounting for over 97% of all businesses and employing more than half of the workforce.
IFC’s investments have not only focused on finance but have also aimed to increase access to insurance for underserved communities. Additionally, over 500,000 loans have been provided for affordable and sustainable housing.
Gender equality has been another area of emphasis for IFC. A remarkable $2.4 billion has been allocated to projects that promote gender equality, exceeding the initial target set by the organization. Closing the gender gap in East Asia and the Pacific is estimated to take another 189 years, while the South Asia region is projected to take 149 years, highlighting the urgent need for action.
The organization has also prioritized projects that improve food security in the region. In particular, a resilient rice market has been implemented in Bangladesh as part of the new $6 billion Global Food Security Platform. These initiatives have been designed to improve the lives of more than 130,000 farmers, with specific targets set for women farmers.
Digitalization projects have also been a focus for IFC, including projects aimed at improving internet connectivity in the Maldives and developing digital payment systems in Fiji, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands. Other projects have been dedicated to improving healthcare in Indonesia, supporting childcare in Fiji, developing logistics infrastructure in Cambodia, and providing assistance to Sri Lanka during its ongoing economic crisis.
Riccardo Puliti, IFC’s Regional Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, expressed his satisfaction with the outcomes of these investments. He highlighted the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to address the region’s most pressing challenges and drive sustainable development.
Through these investments, IFC is making significant strides in promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, and tackling critical issues across Asia and the Pacific.
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