NAIROBI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced that it will explore investment opportunities in southern Sudan, one of Africa's poorest conflict-affected regions, following successful investment climate reforms.
IFT said in statement received here on Wednesday that the new opportunities are emerging in such sectors as energy, construction materials, hotels, trade finance, and microfinance.
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for Southern and Eastern Africa, signaled IFC's increasing confidence in potential investment projects following a recent visit to southern Sudan.
"More stable conditions on the ground and an improved business environment have created the right conditions for IFC and other investors to consider new investments in southern Sudan," said Prosper. "IFC wants to do more to encourage investment that creates new opportunities for the people."
The region was granted autonomy from Sudan at the end of a 22-year civil war in 2005 and operates under the authority of a regional government.
It has some of the world's worst social indicators, but conditions have been improving since the end of hostilities.
The regional government recently enacted four investment laws to help provide a sound legal framework that supports private investment. With help from IFC, it also established a business registry that has registered more than 3,600 companies since May 2007.
"The World Bank will do all it can to assist IFC and private businesses in supporting key sectors that will contribute to Southern Sudan's rapid development," said Laurence Clarke, Manager of the World Bank Sudan office.
An investment climate team comprising staff from IFC and FIAS, a multidonor investment climate advisory service of the World Bank Group, has been providing assistance to Southern Sudan since 2006 and helping build local capacity to support and implement business environment reforms.
To date, the team has helped review and draft 11 pieces of legislation, four of which have been enacted and published. It is also helping establish the southern Sudan Investment Authority and a consultation mechanism for public-private dialogue.
IFC and the World Bank also plan to help the regional government organize an investor conference in the near future.