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Wiebke Schloemer is the Director for Europe and Central Asia at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. In this role, she leads IFC’s operations in 24 countries in the region, with a specific focus on boosting the green economy, increasing access to finance and promoting inclusion, and improving competitiveness and connectivity to help the region’s economies grow sustainably and inclusively, protecting and creating jobs.


CRUCIAL CAPITAL


THE


IMPORTANCE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT


OPEC Fund Quarterly: Why is private sector-led development important? Wiebke Schloemer: In the developing world, which is where IFC operates, the private sector provides 90 percent of all jobs and is a crucial source of capital and innovation. In a world where about one in 10 people live on less than US$1.90 a day, you need healthy, vibrant businesses if you want to create economic opportunities and lift people out of poverty. That is especially important in the face of COVID-19. According to World Bank projections, the pandemic could drive 150 million people into extreme


10


poverty by the end of 2021, reversing years of gains in the battle against destitution.


OFQ: What are the main challenges and opportunities to private sector involvement in development? Wiebke Schloemer: The severity of the challenges varies from one part of the world to another, but there are three main issues we see around the globe. The first is a lack of access to capital. Businesses in the developing world, especially smaller ones, often struggle to secure loans and other types of financing, which limits


PHOTO: IFC


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