IE S'pore-IFC deal to help local firms in emerging markets

(From left) Ms Kathy Lai, Mr Vivek Pathak, IE Singapore chairman Seah Moon Ming, IFC country manager for Singapore Rana Karadsheh, IE Singapore group director for ecosystem development Gina Lim, IFC vice-president for new business Dimitris Tsitsirago
(From left) Ms Kathy Lai, Mr Vivek Pathak, IE Singapore chairman Seah Moon Ming, IFC country manager for Singapore Rana Karadsheh, IE Singapore group director for ecosystem development Gina Lim, IFC vice-president for new business Dimitris Tsitsiragos, and Trade and Industry Ministry Second Permanent Secretary Png Cheong Boon at the signing of the MOU yesterday.PHOTO: IE SINGAPORE

A deal signed yesterday should help local companies keen to do business in the emerging markets of Africa, South-east Asia and South Asia.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between International Enterprise Singapore and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will give firms access to in-depth market insights and financing opportunities.

The tie-up combines IE Singapore's network of 13 centres across Africa and Asia with IFC's deep financing knowledge and expertise in these markets. Both agencies will co-host market-focused workshops for Singapore companies, sharing insights on potential business opportunities, financing landscapes and financing partners.

As part of their collaboration, IFC, which is part of the World Bank, will also leverage Singapore's position as a regional infrastructure hub by hosting pre-bid meetings for Asian infrastructure projects.

"This close engagement with IFC will open more doors for Singapore companies to capture infrastructure project opportunities and provide them with in-depth market and financing insights to break into the markets," said IE Singapore deputy chief executive Kathy Lai.

In the 2017 financial year alone, IFC lent close to US$650 million (S$886 million) to Singapore firms.

This included funding for Sembcorp Industries to provide a reliable electricity supply in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES

This close engagement with IFC will open more doors for Singapore companies to capture infrastructure project opportunities and provide them with in-depth market and financing insights to break into the markets. '' 

IE SINGAPORE DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE KATHY LAI, on the collaboration.

Last year, IFC provided a US$175 million loan to Olam International to support the agribusiness firm's food processing facilities in Nigeria and India, increasing food crop production to feed over four million people.

"As a leading emerging markets investor, IFC helps build strong local businesses, which contribute significantly to employment, growth, competitiveness and productivity," said its director for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr Vivek Pathak.

"IFC's partnership with IE Singapore aligns with IFC's strategy to create new markets and work with governments to unlock potential for private sector investments at a greater scale."

The World Bank is forecasting the growth of emerging markets to hit 4.1 per cent this year, which will drive demand for infrastructure to meet economic and social needs.

Ann Williams

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'IE S'pore-IFC deal to help local firms in emerging markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe