The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, committed approximately $1.5 billion in short- and long-term investments in Pakistan in fiscal year 2023, doubling its investments from the previous year amidst a backdrop of economic challenges in the country, read a press statement issued on Tuesday.
IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, said that its projects in Pakistan aim to provide much-needed jobs, increase productivity in the private sector, enhance gender inclusion, and address the impacts of climate change.
“Our investment and advisory programmes over the last fiscal year showcase IFC’s commitment towards helping realise the significant potential of Pakistan’s private sector,” said Zeeshan Sheikh, IFC Country Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Moving forward, we want to increase our focus on facilitating access to finance particularly for MSMEs, sustainable & digital infrastructure, as well as support to export-oriented industries that help create jobs and are critical for the country’s economic growth.”
IFC shared that the strategic areas of engagement during the last year included investments in agriculture and healthcare.
The financial institute invested in the agribusiness sector by providing working capital to support local farmers and distributors.
“To help meet growing healthcare needs, IFC also supported Alliance Healthcare to enable the private healthcare provider in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to expand its Northwest Teaching Hospital and Northwest General Hospital,” it said.
Alongside these investments, IFC enhanced its banking sector support to bolster manufacturing and export-oriented industries and help smaller businesses strengthen their value chains.
To support climate action, sustainability, and gender inclusion, IFC expanded its advisory work to collaborate with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to redefine environmental and social risk management frameworks for the country’s banking sector, added the statement.
It launched the Climate2Equal Initiative to help companies increase participation of female employees in climate related actions and policy decisions.
“Through its Public Private Partnership (PPP) Advisory unit, IFC is currently supporting the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority as lead transaction advisor in structuring a private concession to upgrade airports in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi.
“The country’s first-ever airport PPPs are expected to transform the sector, maximize revenue for the government, and provide improved services to the public,” read the statement.
IFC said that it remains active to evaluate new advisory and investment opportunities, including PPPs, in areas such as water, waste management, and sustainable infrastructure. “Enhancing access to finance, promoting development of digital infrastructure & VC/startups, and providing financing to export-oriented industries will also remain a key part of IFC’s strategy,” said IFC.