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                                                                                                                     Tuesday, Feb 21
                           Thunell Meets President Obasanjo, Emphasizes Bigger IFC Role in Nigeria’s Power
                                                                                                     Sector




                                  Thunell Meets President Obasanjo,
                          Emphasizes Bigger IFC Role in Nigeria’s Power Sector

                                                  IFC investments in Nigeria have grown rapidly in the past
                                                  three years. The $420 million portfolio is now IFC’s largest
                                                  in Sub-Saharan Africa, with key sectors being financial
                                                  markets, infrastructure, and manufacturing. This pipeline
                                                  is strong and expanding.

                                                 On his first official visit to developing countries since
                                                 joining IFC three weeks ago, Executive Vice President Lars
                                                 Thunell said, “I decided to culminate my first visit by
                                                 coming to Nigeria. I have tremendous admiration for the
                                                 achievements of the reform team led by Finance Minister
                                                 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. IFC is already doing a lot here, and
                                                 we have now substantially strengthened our Lagos office
                         under the leadership of Country Manager Andrew Alli. We are positioned to do a
                         lot more, and I want to understand the best IFC strategy and priorities going
                         forward.”

                         To this end, Alli and his counterpart, World Bank
                         Country Director Hafez Ghanem, organized an
                         intensive introduction to Nigeria for Thunell.

                                Thunell signed his first investment agreement
                                as head of IFC, with Socketworks, an
                                innovative software and IT solutions developer
                                targeting Nigerian universities. Scott
                                Featherstone and Frank Ajilore brought this
                                transaction to closure, under the leadership of
                                Guy Ellena.

                                Thunell participated in an enthusiastic debate with small business
                                entrepreneurs at the Lagos Business School’s Entrepreneurs Center. The
                                Lagos Business School is a key member of IFC’s Global Business School
                                Network.

                                Thunell visited IFC client companies, including the MTN telecommunications
                                firm and the Ikeja hotels currently under construction. He also met with
                                the country’s major donors and with many of Nigeria’s leading
                                businesspeople.



                         In addition, Thunell spent a full day visiting the Obajana cement plant in central
                         Nigeria. IFC is providing a $75 million loan for this $850 million project, which is
                         one of the largest non-oil sector investments in Nigeria to date. At the site, he
                         met IFC staff Nick Flanders and Justin Pooley, who are helping Obajana with the
                         major environmental and community issues on which IFC is adding value.

                         Haji Aliko Dangote, the Obajana project’s sponsor and owner, said, “It’s been
                         tough at times working with IFC, but we have learned a lot—and we truly value
                         IFC’s leadership. IFC is one of our most important partners and we want this
                         relationship to continue forever!” Thunell responded by saying, “The Dangote
                         Group is leading the way in establishing a growing manufacturing base for
Nigeria’s economy. This diversification away from oil dependence is essential, and
IFC is equipped to be a full partner in the process.”

On his final day before returning to Washington, Thunell, the country managers,
IFC Director for Africa Dick Ranken, and Alzbeta Klein met with Finance Minister
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and with President Olesegun Obasanjo. Coming out of these
meetings, Thunell noted how impressed he is with Nigeria’s strong, clear
leadership on the central issues of economic reform: “We had a very frank and
constructive conversation with both the finance minister and the president. We
agreed that IFC’s current agenda is suited to the country’s needs and that we will
focus increased attention on infrastructure, especially power. This sector
constitutes perhaps the most significant physical barrier to growth.”

Providing an overview of the whole three-country visit (Cameroon, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and Nigeria), Thunell singled out the superlative on-the-ground
cooperation with the World Bank, not just in joint programs but also in terms of
strong personal and professional relationships. He commended in particular the
IFC and World Bank country managers for these countries: Hafez Ghanem, Jean-
Michel Happi, Markus Repnik, Oumar Seydi, and Andrew Alli.




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