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Eastern Europe/Asia: Aid Planned For Poorer Transition Countries

Washington, 20 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is launching a special program to generate business and investment in 16 countries having a particularly difficult transition to a market economy.

The IFC, the private sector affiliate of the World Bank, says it will pay special attention to Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Slovak Republic and Uzbekistan in the effort to actively generate local business opportunities. All of these countries are having troubles launching markets, creating new businesses and drawing foreign investment.

The corporation has created a $40 million small enterprise fund to allow it to identify local entrepreneurs with potential and to provide small loans to help commercially sound enterprises grow and expand.

IFC Vice President for Operations, Wilfried Kaffenberger, says the loans could be as small as under $1,000 as a direct way to boost the development of local free enterprise.

The IFC is also sending a fulltime staff member to work in each country, encouraging local development and assisting in drawing outside investment and business development.