The International Financial Corporation, (IFC) has launched the Private Enterprise Partnership for Africa, (PEP Africa) in Accra. PEP Africa replaces the Africa Project Development Facility, (APDF) that ended in June, after an 18-year period of providing business development and capacity building services to Small and Medium Scale, (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa.
PEP Africa is an extension of IFC's technical assistance and advisory work in Africa. It will continue to provide direct support for the development of SMEs and largely promote private sector development. PEP Africa will initially embark on development programmes in six sectors, with Ghana scheduled to receive over $200 million in investments, the single largest in Sub Saharan Africa.
These include financial markets, infrastructure and agri-business. The rest are tourism, health and education as well as extractive industries.
This will be complemented by initiatives that will improve the investment, mitigate the business risk of HIV/AIDS, promote good corporate governance and strengthen the role of women in business.
A similar programme being implemented by PEP Africa is the Tanzania Leasing Programme (TANZALEP) being funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
According to the General Manager of PEP Africa, Bernard Chidzero, the intention is to have a balanced portfolio of programmes that respond to private sector development needs across industry sectors throughout English, French and Portuguese speaking countries in Africa.
Since IFC's inception in 1956 through 2004, it has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries.
Its worldwide committed portfolio as at 2004 was $17.9 billion for its own accounts and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.