IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has ramped up its investments in vital infrastructure throughout the Middle East and North Africa over the past 12 months, focusing on the energy sector.
During fiscal year 2014, which ended on June 30, IFC committed $639 million to infrastructure projects that enhanced access to power, affordable transport, and essential water provision. That follows the $647 million invested in the previous year, and continues IFC s strategy of tackling development challenges with innovative infrastructure solutions.
In the Middle East and North Africa power is a priority, because electricity shortages are common and power demands are increasing, said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Our investments have targeted the massive potential of renewable energy in the region, while making sure that communities get the most from existing resources.
Over the past year IFC arranged a $221 million debt package to help the Jordan Wind Project Company develop the country s first privately owned wind farm, with a capacity of 117 megawatts. While in Pakistan, IFC invested a total of $48 million to help Metro Power Company build a 50 megawatt wind farm, north east of Karachi.
IFC will also invest up to $100 million in Saudi-based firm ACWA Power, which will help the company significantly increase the amount of power it generates from renewable sources.
This year also saw the opening of Uch-II, a new low-cost gas-fired power plant in Pakistan, as a direct result of IFC contributing the largest foreign investment to the Pakistan power sector in the past 15 years. The plant will produce electricity well below the average cost, providing annual savings of around $300 million and generating enough electricity to supply six million people.
To provide clean drinking water and improve wastewater treatment infrastructure, IFC arranged a $25.5 million loan to Metito, a leading Dubai-based water and wastewater treatment company, that will help develop water treatment projects across the MENA region and parts of Asia.
In the West Bank, IFC finalized a deal that will see a private consortium operate a modern landfill the first public-private partnership of its kind in the West Bank and Gaza. The facility is expected to dramatically improve waste management in the southern West Bank, where illegal dumping has become a health threat and environmental hazard.
A further investment of $20 million in Pakistan will help Daewoo Pakistan Express Bus Service expand access to safe and affordable transportation throughout the country, creating jobs and aiding local economies. While in Iraq, a total investment of $10.5 million in Nafith International will go towards the construction of new truck yards and ease freight traffic crucial for cross border trade.