International Finance Corporation (IFC)8th September 2022 0 By indiafreenotes
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services to encourage private-sector development in less developed countries. The IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States.
It was established in 1956, as the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, to advance economic development by investing in for-profit and commercial projects for poverty reduction and promoting development. The IFC’s stated aim is to create opportunities for people to escape poverty and achieve better living standards by mobilizing financial resources for private enterprise, promoting accessible and competitive markets, supporting businesses and other private-sector entities, and creating jobs and delivering necessary services to those who are poverty stricken or otherwise vulnerable.
Since 2009, the IFC has focused on a set of development goals that its projects are expected to target. Its goals are to increase sustainable agriculture opportunities, improve healthcare and education, increase access to financing for microfinance and business clients, advance infrastructure, help small businesses grow revenues, and invest in climate health.
The IFC is owned and governed by its member countries but has its own executive leadership and staff that conduct its normal business operations. It is a corporation whose shareholders are member governments that provide paid-in capital and have the right to vote on its matters. Originally, it was more financially integrated with the World Bank Group, but later, the IFC was established separately and eventually became authorized to operate as a financially autonomous entity and make independent investment decisions.
It offers an array of debt and equity financing services and helps companies face their risk exposures while refraining from participating in a management capacity. The corporation also offers advice to companies on making decisions, evaluating their impact on the environment and society, and being responsible. It advises governments on building infrastructure and partnerships to further support private sector development.
The corporation is assessed by an independent evaluator each year. In 2011, its evaluation report recognized that its investments performed well and reduced poverty, but recommended that the corporation define poverty and expected outcomes more explicitly to better-understand its effectiveness and approach poverty reduction more strategically. The corporation’s total investments in 2011 amounted to $18.66 billion. It committed $820 million to advisory services for 642 projects in 2011, and held $24.5 billion worth of liquid assets. The IFC is in good financial standing and received the highest ratings from two independent credit rating agencies in 2018.
IFC comes under frequent criticism from NGOs that it is not able to track its money because of its use of financial intermediaries. For example, a report by Oxfam International and other NGOs in 2015, “The Suffering of Others,” found the IFC was not performing enough due diligence and managing risk in many of its investments in third-party lenders.
The IFC’s investment services consist of loans, equity, trade finance, syndicated loans, structured and securitized finance, client risk management services, treasury services, and liquidity management. In its fiscal year 2010, the IFC invested $12.7 billion in 528 projects across 103 countries. Of that total investment commitment, approximately 39% ($4.9 billion) was invested into 255 projects across 58 member nations of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
The IFC makes loans to businesses and private projects generally with maturities of seven to twelve years. It determines a suitable repayment schedule and grace period for each loan individually to meet borrowers’ currency and cash flow requirements. The IFC may provide longer-term loans or extend grace periods if a project is deemed to warrant it. Leasing companies and financial intermediaries may also receive loans from the IFC.
Though loans have traditionally been denominated in hard currencies, the IFC has endeavored to structure loan products in local currencies. Its disbursement portfolio included loans denominated in 25 local currencies in 2010, and 45 local currencies in 2011, funded largely through swap markets. Local financial markets development is one of IFC’s strategic focus areas. In line with its AAA rating, it has strict concentration, liquidity, asset-liability and other policies. The IFC committed to approximately $5.7 billion in new loans in 2010, and $5 billion in 2011.
In addition to its investment activities the IFC provides a range of advisory services to support corporate decisionmaking regarding business, environment, social impact, and sustainability. The IFC’s corporate advice targets governance, managerial capacity, scalability, and corporate responsibility. It prioritizes the encouragement of reforms that improve the trade friendliness and ease of doing business in an effort to advise countries on fostering a suitable investment climate. It also offers advice to governments on infrastructure development and public-private partnerships. The IFC attempts to guide businesses toward more sustainable practices particularly with regards to having good governance, supporting women in business, and proactively combating climate change. The International Finance Corporation has stated that cities in emerging markets can attract more than $29 trillion in climate-related sectors by 2030.
Asset management company
The IFC established IFC Asset Management Company LLC (IFC AMC) in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary to manage all capital funds to be invested in emerging markets. The AMC manages capital mobilized by the IFC as well as by third parties such as sovereign or pension funds, and other development financing organizations. Despite being owned by the IFC, the AMC has investment decision autonomy and is charged with a fiduciary responsibility to the four individual funds under its management. It also aims to mobilize additional capital for IFC investments as it can make certain types of investments which the IFC cannot. As of 2011, the AMC managed the IFC Capitalization Fund (Equity) Fund, L.P., the IFC Capitalization (Subordinated Debt) Fund, L.P., the IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean Fund, L.P., and the Africa Capitalization Fund, Ltd. The IFC Capitalization (Equity) Fund holds $1.3 billion in equity, while the IFC Capitalization (Subordinated Debt) Fund is valued at $1.7 billion. The IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean Fund (referred to as the IFC ALAC Fund) was created in 2010 and is worth $1 billion. As of March 2012, the ALAC Fund has invested a total of $349.1 million into twelve businesses. The Africa Capitalization Fund was set up in 2011 to invest in commercial banks in both Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa and its commitments totaled $181.8 million in March 2012. As of 2018, Marcos Brujis serves as CEO of the AMC.
IFC Sustainability Framework articulates IFC’s commitment to sustainable development and is part of its approach to risk management. IFC’s Environmental and social policies, guidelines, and tools are widely adopted as market standards and embedded in operational policies by corporations, investors, financial intermediaries, stock exchanges, regulators, and countries. In particular, the EHS Guidelines contain the performance levels and measures that are normally acceptable to the World Bank Group and that are generally considered to be achievable in new facilities at reasonable costs by existing technology.
Green buildings in less developed countries
The IFC has created a mass-market certification system for fast growing emerging markets called EDGE (“Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies”). IFC and the World Green Building Council have partnered to accelerate green building growth in less developed counties. The target is to scale up green buildings over a seven-year period until 20% of the property market is saturated. Certification occurs when the EDGE standard is met, which requires 20% less energy, water, and materials than conventional homes.