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The East: Agency Broadens Investment Guarantees To New Countries

Washington, 5 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) says it broadened its guarantees of investments into 11 new countries in the 1997 financial year, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania.

The agency -- an affiliate organization of the World Bank -- provides investment guarantee insurance to help get direct investment flowing into developing and other countries unable to attract money without some form of protection for the investors.

The agency says it issued a record 70 guarantee contracts worth $614 million in 25 developing member countries in the 1997 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

MIGA does not release details on individual project guarantees, but it estimates the development impact of its guarantees in fiscal 1997 include the creation of about 4,000 jobs and the facilitation of approximately $4,700 million in foreign direct investments into the developing countries.

It says its guarantees have played a "pivotal role" in facilitating more than $20 billion in foreign direct investments since MIGA was founded in the early 1990s. It says its guarantees helped create 40,000 new jobs in 52 developing member countries and economies in transition over its history.

MIGA also negotiated the establishment of two investment guarantee trust funds to facilitate foreign investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the West Bank and Gaza during the past year.

It says these trust funds will allow MIGA to provide long-term -- up to 15 years -- insurance for eligible small and medium-size investments, a critical component of the reconstruction process.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Fund will be sponsored by a credit line of 10 ECU from the European Union.

MIGA, which has been asking its members and the World Bank to greatly expand its capital base, says it has also been providing investment marketing services to host countries to help them more effectively promote their own private investment opportunities. In the just completed fiscal year, the agency says, 95 countries benefited from these technical services, including countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.