The International Finance Corporation (IFC) promotes sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty
and improve people's lives.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington,
DC. It shares the primary objective of all World Bank Group institutions: to
improve the quality of the lives of people in its developing member countries.
Established in 1956, IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity
financing for private sector projects in the developing world. It promotes sustainable
private sector development primarily by:
Financing private sector projects located in the developing world.
Helping private companies in the developing world mobilize financing in international
Providing advice and technical assistance to businesses and governments.
1 Ownership and Management
2 Funding of IFC's Activities
3 IFC Activities
5 External links
 Ownership and Management
IFC has 179 member countries , which collectively determine its policies and
approve investments. To join IFC, a country must first be a member of the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IFC's corporate powers are vested
in its Board of Governors, to which member countries appoint representatives.
IFC's share capital, which is paid in, is provided by its member countries,
and voting is in proportion to the number of shares held. IFC's authorized capital
(the sums contributed by its members over the years) is $2.45 billion; IFC's
net worth (which includes authorized capital and retained earnings) is considerably
larger and at the end of June, 2005, was $9.8 billion. 
The Board of Governors delegates many of its powers to the Board of Directors,
which is composed of the Executive Directors of the IBRD, and which represents
IFC's member countries. The Board of Directors reviews all projects.
The President of the World Bank Group, Paul Wolfowitz, also serves as IFC's
president. He has agreed to step down as of June 30, 2007. IFC's Executive Vice
President, Lars Thunell, is responsible for the overall management of day-to-day
operations. He was appointed on January 15, 2006.
Although IFC coordinates its activities in many areas with the other institutions
in the World Bank Group, IFC generally operates independently as it is legally
and financially autonomous with its own Articles of Agreement, share capital,
management and staff.
 Funding of IFC's Activities
IFC's equity and quasi-equity investments are funded out of its net worth: the
total of paid in capital and retained earnings. Strong shareholder support,
triple-A ratings, and the substantial paid-in capital base have allowed IFC
to raise funds for its lending activities on favorable terms in the international
capital markets. Retained earnings now represent almost three-quarters of IFC's
net worth of $9.8 billion (end-June 2006).
 IFC Activities
Within the World Bank Group, the World Bank finances projects with sovereign
guarantees, while the IFC finances projects without sovereign guarantees. This
means that the IFC is primarily active in private sector projects, although
some projects in the public sector (at the municipal or sub-national level)
have recently been funded.
Private sector financing is IFC's main activity, and in this respect is a profit-oriented
financial institution (and has never had an annual loss in its 50-year history).
Like a bank, IFC lends or invests its own funds and borrowed funds to its customers
and expects to make a sufficient risk-adjusted return on its global portfolio
IFC's activities, however, must meet a second test of contributing to a reduction
in poverty in line with its mandate. In practice, this is broadly interpreted,
but considerable time and effort is devoted to both (i) selecting projects with
positive developmental outcomes, and (ii) improving the developmental outcome
of projects by various means.
Apart from its core investment activities, IFC also carries out technical cooperation
projects in many countries to improve the investment climate. These activities
may be linked to a specific investment project, or, increasingly, to broader
goals such as improving the legislative environment for a specific industry.
IFC's technical cooperation projects are generally funded by donor countries
or from IFC's own budget.
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