Abstract

The fortieth anniversary of the founding of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was marked in 1996. The IFC, the second-oldest member of the World Bank Group,2 was established to promote development in its member countries by supporting the private sector. Unlike the World Bank, which is involved mostly in multilateral lending to governments, the IFC uses market-based approaches to assist private enterprise without a guarantee of repayment by the member government concerned. Since its inception, the IFC’s membership has grown to 172 countries. In 1995, the IFC welcomed Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Tajikistan as new members.3 Since its inception, it has provided more than $16 billion in financing for approximately 1,600 business ventures in 114 developing countries.4 The IFC is now the world’s largest multilateral source of direct investment for private project finance in developing countries.5