The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has ramped up its investments in vital infrastructure projects in the Middle East and North Africa over the past year, with a focus on renewable energy to tap into new energy sources and help mitigate climate change.
IFC committed a total of $783 million (47 percent of which was mobilized) to infrastructure projects in fiscal year 2015, backing private sector investments in key energy projects to meet the region’s growing demand for power. That follows $639 million invested in the sector in FY14, demonstrating IFC’s commitment to tackling the region’s biggest development challenges, according to IFC.
“With demand for infrastructure, especially power, rising rapidly every year in the region, these projects demonstrate the importance of the private sector in increasing capacity and boosting renewable energy generation,” said Wiebke Schloemer, IFC’s Regional Industry Head of Infrastructure in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. “The region is blessed with an abundance of natural resources so the opportunities in this sector are immense.”
Over the last year, IFC closed an innovative $208 million debt package to fund the construction of seven solar photovoltaic plants in Jordan – the largest-ever private sector-led solar project in the MENA region, and winner of Infrastructure Journal’s prestigious Middle East Renewable Dear of the year award.
In Pakistan, where crippling power shortages have hindered economic development and growth, IFC invested $125 million in China Three Gorges South Asia, to support a series of hydro, solar and wind projects that could provide electricity for up to 11 million people and boost generation capacity by up to 15 percent.
To cut the Pakistan’s reliance on costly imported liquid fuels, IFC also invested $50 million and mobilized a further $154.5 million for the Gulpur Hydro project, a new hydropower plant in Pakistan, and invested $7.5 million in equity alongside a $20 million loan to Engro Elengy Terminal for Pakistan’s first LNG import facility.
In addition, IFC invested in three wind farms in Pakistan’s Sindh province to further boost renewable energy regeneration. These include a $15 million investment by IFC and additional $36 million from other investors in Gul Ahmed Wind Power to help the company build and operate a new 50-megawatt wind farm; $30 million in Tenaga Generasi Limited to develop a 49.5-megawatt wind farm; and a $25 million debt and equity investment to help the Metro Power Company develop a 50-megawatt wind farm in the province.
IFC also invested $25 million in pioneering power company Alcazar Energy to help develop a series of renewable energy projects in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, with a focus on solar and wind power plants.
IFC will be continuing its work in FY16 to help the private sector tackle the region’s most pressing challenges in order to boost growth and shared prosperity, and reduce extreme poverty.