Dear Minister Petrescu,
Dear Minister Voinea,
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is a great day for the World Bank Group in Romania and I would like to thank you all who helped us develop new Country Partnership Strategy. We are very excited that we are going to continue working in Romania.
ABOUT IFC IN ROMANIA
Simply put, the role of IFC within the World Bank Group is to mobilize the power of the private sector to create jobs and opportunity where they are needed most! In that respect, we are also working to develop infrastructure and local capital markets to create access to long-term finance for entrepreneurs.
Romania became an IFC member in 1990, and IFC has invested a total of $2.2 billion in the country since then. Our current investments in Romania amount to $670 million and last financial year, IFC invested $160 million in Romania.
Our role in the country is changing in light of the country’s EU membership and the growing availability of private financing. We were focused on sub-national climate change investments, strengthening of the banking sector, including lending to SMEs, with a specific focus on women-owned entrepreneurial initiatives, local currency bonds investments and trade finance to banks.
Going forward, IFC will continue to focus on the private sector, growth and job creation agenda. IFC will continue to support sustainable growth in Romania and enhance economic competitiveness through selective financing of private sector projects. Our program during the next CPS period (FY14-17) is expected to be in the range of $150 million to $250 million annually.
IFC’s strategy is to support the private sector with projects that can achieve significant impact in areas not covered by other IFIs. Strategic sectors include: financial markets, agriculture and infrastructure.
Within financial markets, IFC will continue post-crisis support, with an emphasis on re-building the alternative financing in local currency of the capital markets jointly with the Bank.
We shall continue ongoing work with financial intermediaries to support the SMEs, provide loans to under-served populations and provide co-financing with EU programs where appropriate.
IFC can also play a significant role in helping banks reduce their NPLs. The investments IFC makes in distressed assets will help the banks in Romania to convert non-productive assets into productive resources.
REAL SECTOR / AGRICULTURE
We shall help develop Romania’s competitive advantages through select investments in primary production, food and beverage processing, and retail. IFC will invest selectively, focusing on opportunities to support projects outside Bucharest, complementing the proposed IBRD IPF within the sector.
IFC will also address bottlenecks to growth in areas that IBRD is not playing a role in, such as infrastructure, including through public-private partnerships (PPPs) with an emphasis on climate change, innovation and new technologies especially for exporters. IFC’s involvement in large PPPs structuring will also ensure transfer of best practice and capacity building at local administration levels.
IFC will continue to structure projects with an emphasis on supporting Romania to utilize EU funds, building on its co-financed projects with the EU at the sub-national level.
The entire Romania World Bank Group Country Team has been involved in the CPS preparation.
We shall continue working as a team during the implementation of the new Country Partnership Strategy, as united we can deliver much more to Romania.
I would like to thank again all our partners in Romania, government representatives, private sector, academia, NGOs who helped us tremendously in shaping up this strategy.
Thank you very much!