ISLAMABAD: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group has launched a new $225 million platform to help build the digital economy in Pakistan and countries of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The platform will build on IFC’s investments and efforts to build tech ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan through initiatives such as the IFC Startup Catalyst Programme, IFC announced.

In Pakistan, according to IFC, the digital transformation can unlock up to $59.7 billion in annual economic value by 2030, equivalent to about 19 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The platform will be backed by an additional $50m from the Blended Finance Facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which helps de-risk investments in low-income countries. In addition, IFC will mobilise capital from other development institutions and the private sector to support entrepreneurs and tech companies in those countries.

IFC’s $225m funding platform will go to venture capital firms and companies that are already addressing development challenges through technological innovations in climate, health care, education, agriculture, e-commerce, and other sectors.

It will help innovative tech companies in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan expand during a time of capital shortage and create scalable investment opportunities, according to IFC Managing Director, Makhtar Diop.

The new platform will strengthen venture capital ecosystems and invest in early-stage companies addressing development challenges through technological innovations in climate, health care, education, agriculture, e-commerce, and other sectors.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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