IFC had a strong year in spite of the pandemic. They committed $22 billion in long-term finance—an almost 15 percent year-on-year increase—including $11.1 billion invested for their own account. In addition, short-term financing commitments, including trade finance, totaled $6.5 billion: a 12 percent increase compared with the previous fiscal year. IDA-eligible and fragile countries accounted for 25 percent of IFC’s own-account long-term finance commitments, while climate business accounted for 30 percent. IFC also committed $1.8 billion in long-term finance for financial institutions specifically targeting women.
At the same time, they stepped up to help the world fight the pandemic. IFC rolled out an $8 billion fast-track COVID-19 financing facility to help keep companies in business and preserve jobs. Through the facility, they provided direct lending to existing clients who demonstrated a clear impact on their business by the pandemic, as well as support to client financial institutions so they could continue lending to small and medium businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of September 2020, $3.9 billion of the facility had been committed, including the entire $2 billion allocated under the trade-finance envelope, helping to keep liquidity flowing to businesses that depend on trade, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises. We also laid the groundwork to deploy the innovative Global Health Platform, aimed at increasing access for developing countries to critical health-care supplies such as face masks, ventilators, and potential vaccines, and helping those countries boost their own manufacturing capacity.
Importantly, the crisis encouraged IFC to transform the way they do business. They learned to work virtually, such as by conducting virtual appraisals and portfolio supervisions. For the fast-track COVID-19 facility, IFC put in place a revamped decision-making framework that maximizes speed while screening for key risks, with the fastest transaction signed in a record 29 days. They also introduced streamlined portfolio management processes, helping them respond to client requests for standstills in an agile fashion.
In FY20, they started the implementation of their new approach to equity investing, improving our handling of equity investments “from cradle to grave” and bringing a much sharper focus on macro-economic issues in new business analysis and portfolio decision-making. With this, they integrated the Asset Management Company (AMC) into IFC and realigned its role as the mobilization platform for IFC in relation to equity. They have also made progress on operationalizing our Green Equity in Financial Intermediaries (FIs) strategy—a proactive approach to help FIs green their portfolios and significantly reduce their exposure to coal assets.