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IFC Boosts COVID-19 and Climate Response Efforts in Banner Year for East Asia and Pacific; Announces New Regional Director

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Sydney, Australia, August 17, 2021 — With the goal of building resilience among people, businesses, and countries, IFC significantly ramped up its response efforts to tackle the dual crises of climate change and COVID-19 in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) in the last fiscal year.

Despite the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, FY21 saw a record commitment of US$3.8 billion by IFC in the region, including US$2.8 billion in long-term financing from its own account, and US$956 million mobilized from outside investors. In addition, IFC provided US$1.5 billion in short term finance in the region to facilitate trade flows.

IFC has committed US$1.9 billion to COVID-19 response efforts since the onset of the health crisis in EAP. The first transaction under IFC’s US$4 billion Global Health Platform, which addressed the severe shortage of medical supplies in developing countries, was in EAP, and US$3 billion was committed to support the region’s financial institutions serving micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, account for the vast majority of businesses in the region and are collectively EAP’s largest employer.

Twenty-six percent of projects, amounting to US$744 million in long-term financing, focused on tackling climate change and the marine plastics crisis. While EAP contributes 30 percent of global GDP and is home to 30 percent of the world’s population, it is responsible for 60 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions with some of the biggest contributors to marine plastic waste.

While releasing its end of year figures, IFC also announced the appointment of Kim-See Lim as EAP’s new Regional Director. A Malaysian national, Lim will lead investment and advisory operations across 18 countries and oversee IFC’s strategy in the region.

“Given the devastating impacts of the global pandemic, IFC will continue to focus on leveraging the private sector to foster a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery in East Asia and the Pacific,” said Lim. “In alignment with the World Bank Group’s new Climate Change Action Plan, a climate-smart roadmap will be critical to achieve the goals of job creation and shared prosperity in the region. Building back better is the only way to spur the region’s recovery out of this crisis while prioritizing renewable energy, energy efficiency, green and blue bonds, and smart cities.”

In response to the region’s urgent need to tackle climate change, IFC completed a series of notable transactions in its last fiscal year including investing in its first blue bond. Moreover, IFC played a pioneering role in developing capital markets for blue financing, with guidelines for companies wanting to “go blue.” IFC arranged a US$300 million blue loan for Indorama Ventures, the world’s biggest producer of PET resin, to support PET bottle recycling projects; a green loan of up to US$143 million to Asset World Corporation, Thailand’s largest hospitality player, to finance new green projects and decarbonize its existing hotels; and a US$57 million financing package to support the development of two wind power projects with a combined capacity of 54.2MW for Thuan Binh Wind Power Joint Stock Company in Vietnam.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, IFC continues to play a critical role in leveraging the private sector to mobilize long-term capital for infrastructure, provide green, blue, social and sustainable financing, attract cross-border investments, and promote innovation-led growth to accelerate the recovery in East Asia and the Pacific,” said Alfonso Garcia Mora, IFC’s Vice President for Asia & Pacific. “With Kim-See Lim as our new regional director, IFC is squarely focusing its support to ensure the region is able to build up its resiliency to not only deal with the impacts of the current challenges, but also any challenging times ahead.”

Lim is a global investment professional with 26 years of experience and has led teams in the execution and management of debt and equity investments across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Her global career in development finance has taken her to more than 30 countries, including frontier markets such as Belarus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Rwanda, among many others.

She succeeds Vivek Pathak, who has assumed a new role as Director and Global Head for Climate Business, based in Washington, D.C.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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