International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, has provided yet another $25 million loan to Pran-RFL Group for expansion of one of it’s concern’s capacity for manufacturing ‘affordable and quality food products’.

The six-year loan with a two-year grace period for fruit and vegetable processor Mymensingh Agro is to ‘enhance the company’s productiveness’ and to ‘meet capital expenditure requirements’, according to the group’s corporate finance director.

In 2018, the IFC had provided a $35 million loan to the group for the creation of markets for farmers. Of it, $15 million was meant for Pran Agro Business Ltd to expand its food business comprised of fruit juices, biscuits and noodles. The remaining $20 million was for Pran Agro Ltd. and Natore Agro Ltd.

Over the years, IFC has invested more than $100 million to the Pran-RFL Group alone in Bangladesh and it’s committed portfolio, which consists of a combination of investments and advisory services in Bangladesh is around $1.52 billion as of June 2018.

Gobal Health Crisis creates Opportunities

The IFC Board in March approved $8 billion in fast-track financing to help companies affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus under its pandemic response on reaching the most vulnerable people in developing countries.

Of it, $4 billion has been committed to date, of which close to half is expected to benefit people in the poorest countries and fragile states.

The remainder is meant for helping to support the fight against Covid-19 across other developing countries and emerging markets.

“Our goal with IFC’s fast-track Covid-19 facility is to provide the needed liquidity for corporate and financial institution clients, which will provide working capital, support jobs and facilitate trade,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

The IFC has since fully deployed $2 billion to help financial institutions keep liquidity flowing to businesses that depend on trade, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, a major source of employment.

“The fast-track facility was designed to provide immediate liquidity to our financial institutions and real sector clients to preserve jobs and prevent short-term damage,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim managing director, executive vice president and chief operating officer of IFC.

“By supporting private sector clients and interventions, we are hoping in the longer term to help reignite economic growth, paving the way for a better, more resilient and sustainable future once Covid-19 recedes.”

The IFC has committed an additional $2 billion under the facility, benefiting every region in which it operates.

This financing will be used for a range of purposes, from bolstering healthcare providers to helping the battered tourism sector and keeping viable businesses afloat, thus saving jobs.

Another $623 million has been mobilised for these clients from private sector partners.

Additionally, an IDA Private Sector Window (PSW) provided $281 million in guarantees supporting trade-finance and working-capital loans to small and medium-size enterprises in eligible countries since March.

The PSW is a tool developed by the World Bank Group to catalyse private-sector investment in the world’s poorest countries.

In August, the IFC also launched a $4-billion Global Health Platform, which is helping developing countries expand access to medical supplies such as masks, ventilators, test kits and eventually a Covid-19 vaccine.

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Mr. Kauser Bhuiyan is a former EU diplomat and Wall-Street professional who gained more than two decades of professional experience at Accenture, Bloomberg, European Commission and Stein & Partners. He learned professional skills in the areas of Change Management Consulting, International Financial Market, Economic Co-operation and Sustainability Advisory services in Frankfurt, Zurich, London, New York, Brussels, Islamabad and Dhaka. Mr. Bhuiyan can be reached at to[at]bangladeshinside.com
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