By Kruskaia Sierra-Escalante

This article was originally published in CFI.CO on March, 2021.

Using Blended Concessional Finance to Invest in Challenging Markets

What can be done to encourage more private investment in developing countries, especially the poorest and most fragile? This question lies at the heart of the development challenge today.

Governments and development institutions alike recognise that the private sector is essential for ending extreme poverty. But getting investors to enter those markets has never been easy, despite continued progress in improving countries’ overall investment environments. The COVID-19 crisis has only increased the real and perceived risks of doing business in developing countries. …


By Neil Gregory

Article originally published in La Vie économique (in French) and Die Volkswirtschaf (in German)

A banana crop in Jalgaon, India. The plants are sold to local farmers. Photo © Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation

Investors have always known that their investments have social and environmental impacts. But until recently, it was seen more as a side-effect than the goal of investing. For many years, socially concerned investors have screened out certain investments from their portfolios — such as so-called “sin stocks” of companies involved in gambling, alcohol and tobacco. More recently, as environmental concerns have come to the fore, investors have gone beyond simple screening out of certain types of firm towards assessing the ESG (environment, social…


By Elena Sterlin

© LinkedIn Article by Elena Sterlin

Just over a year ago my professional life froze. On March 12 came the first notice: all mission travel suspended, effective immediately. A day later, we were ordered to work from home until further notice. Daily activities that had provided framework and flow to my life — commuting to IFC headquarters in downtown Washington, DC, meeting clients and colleagues for lunch and coffee, traveling to different regions to explore new market opportunities — vanished overnight.

At the very same time, my life sped up. A hurricane of requests for financing descended upon IFC. Hospitals and clinics were…


By Christian Ksoll

Health care worker holding vial. © Photo: Shutterstock

According to the WHO, as many as half of all vaccines produced worldwide fail to make it into the arms of their intended recipients. While this is a troubling problem, it reflects the complex task of transporting vaccines from the factory all the way to the site of injection.

In some cases, vaccine shipments require multiple flights, land journeys through difficult terrain or even drone transportation. Each segment of the journey, including any intermediate storage period, must be properly managed in order to maintain the timeframe and temperature range specific to the requirements of a particular vaccine.


By Lisa Kaestner & Paula Tavares

Woman works in a small shop. Ghana. Photo: © Arne Hoel/The World Bank

Despite decades of hard-fought progress towards the goal of gender equality, women today still enjoy only about three quarters of the rights afforded to men and often earn less than men for the same work.

These global findings, taken from the World Bank’s Women Business and the Law Report 2021, are sobering (if not entirely surprising) and come during a global pandemic that has stalled — or even reversed — the march towards equality in many countries.

The recently published report, the seventh in a series of annual studies measuring the laws and regulations…


By Carlo Maria Rossotto

Entrepreneurs co-working at Impact Hub in Accra. © Tom Saater/International Finance Corporation

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of resilient, high-speed internet infrastructure. According to a recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) report, the world after COVID has witnessed a staggering 80% increase of PC uploads to cloud computing platforms since the start of the pandemic. Videoconferencing applications in particular are booming.

We witness this every day. Every day, hundreds of millions of professionals log in to similar enterprise desktop applications. At the same time, millions of children around the world engage in virtual learning using the same technology.

S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates that Zoom’s use increased…


By Alison Buckholtz
Additional reporting contributed by Savani Jayasooriya

A driver navigates the streets of New Delhi with a cold chain pharmaceutical delivery from 1mg. Photo: Aditya Kapoor/JDot

As the COVID-19 vaccine cavalry readies itself for deployment, Delhi-based health tech entrepreneur Prashant Tandon is preparing for battle. Fighting the pandemic, he believes, depends on the organization, coordination, and delivery of an arsenal of health-related services and products. Getting the logistics right is critical not only to public health, he says — it’s a chance to prove that partnerships across industries, the private sector and government produce results for everyone.

When the virus first reached India and the government imposed a strict lockdown, Tandon’s company, the digital health platform 1mg


This article was originally published in The Strait Times on December 16th 2020

Economic crises have a tendency to morph. After a crisis gets under way, its epicentre can shift and it can turn contagious in unpredictable ways, impacting areas previously presumed relatively safe.

For example, what starts as a domestic crisis can take on regional dimensions, affecting even healthy economies, as we saw in Asia in 1997, or go global, as happened after the United States subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–2008. Crises can also spread quickly from one sector to another and then engulf entire economies. …


In the face of adversity posed by the constantly evolving challenge of COVID-19, 2020 tested our collective resilience. IFC rose to this challenge and beyond in Asia and the Pacific.

As we wrap up an extraordinary year, we look back at creating an engaged private sector. Here’s our round up of the top 10 reads from the region.

A Tailored Solution to Support Small Business in Mongolia

Thousands of small enterprise owners like Bulgan Lkhagvatsend can access tailored solutions to sustain their operations in Mongolia through IFC’s innovative tugrik-currency financing to Transcapital.

A New Financial Lifeline for Tongans

‘Ave Pa’anga Pau, a digital cashless voucher developed by Tonga Development Bank and IFC is helping Tongans…


Six Things to Know About Green Bonds

By Denise Odaro

IFC Treasury rang the bell at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in celebration of the tenth year anniversary of IFC’s Green Bond Program

Financial markets are seeing green these days, in more ways than one. Hardly any finance or technology conversations are being had without climate change featured in some manner. In this blog post, I have summarized the salient points on one of the most talked-about market products — green bonds.

What are green bonds?

A green bond, according to the Green Bond Principles (GBP), is any bond instrument that exclusively finances projects that contribute to environmental objectives. The GBP is a framework developed in 2014 by a group of banks, bond…

IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

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