Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is at a critical crossroads and the World Bank Group, including MIGA, has a vital role to play in helping the region lay the foundation for stability and shared prosperity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought severe economic and social losses to MENA countries. Responding to the crisis, the Bank Group quickly started to provide support, which includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance, to help countries cope with the urgent health needs and improve safety net systems.
As of October 2020, GDP in MENA was estimated to contract by 5.2% in 2020, which is 4.1 percentage points below the forecast in April 2020. The region is expected to recover in 2021.
MIGA's work in the MENA region covers a wide range of sectors, such as agribusiness, manufacturing, power and water. Climate finance is one of the Agency's top priorities, and the backing of four solar power plants in Jordan in 2015 was its first renewable energy project in the region. Since 2018, MIGA has also been supporting Egypt's Solar Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Program, aimed at mobilizing private investments to build the Benban Solar Park, one of the world’s largest solar PV generation complexes.
In FY20, MIGA strengthened its climate finance commitments in the MENA region by issuing guarantees to cover six additional solar power plants in Egypt's Benban Solar Park, and a wind farm project in Djibouti. The total guarantee amount reached $168 million.
EXAMPLES OF MIGA-SUPPORTED PROJECTS IN the Middle East and North Africa
In March 2020, MIGA issued guarantees to support the operation and maintenance of six additional solar power plants at the Benban Solar Park in Egypt. The new plants are part of the country's landmark solar Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Program, which mobilizes private investments to build one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) generation parks.
The guarantees have been issued to Scatec Solar, which has extensive experience delivering sustainable clean energy systems and has worked with MIGA on multiple projects in the past. Amounting to US$52.35 million, the guarantees cover Scatec’s investments in the project against the risk of Currency Inconvertibility and Transfer Restriction for up to 15 years.
In 2018, MIGA issued $16.2 million in guarantees covering the investment of Paşabahçe, a glassware company of the Şişecam Group, in a glassware manufacturing plant in Egypt. The guarantees cover 90 percent of the investment for up to 15 years against the risks of Transfer Restriction, Expropriation, and War and Civil Disturbance.
Paşabahçe’s investment is in support of acquiring and operating the plant, upgrading equipment, and increasing capacity for manufacturing high-quality glass tableware. Improvements to the plant include three additional production lines and adoption of new technologies.
Following a successful run at improving electricity distribution in northern Lebanon, MIGA extended its guarantees in April 2019 to support the ongoing design, upgrade, maintenance and operation of an electricity distribution network in the country.
The guarantees, amounting to $35.5 million, are being issued to Butec Utility Services (BUS) equity holders Butec International Limited (Cyprus) and El-Sewedy Electrometer Egypt, against the risks of Breach of Contract, and War and Civil Disturbance.
In 2017, IFC and MIGA backed the design, construction, ownership, and operation of a 485-megawatt gas-fired power plant in Jordan to increase the country's power generation capacity, while mitigating the impact on the environment. IFC invested up to $75 million in the combined cycle plant and mobilized $200 million of debt, alongside a consortium of lenders. MIGA provided a guarantee for 20 years, covering up to $215.6 million in commercial debt.
Earlier in 2015, MIGA issued guarantees to back the development, construction, and operation of four solar power projects in Ma'an and Mafraq, adding 50 megawatts of clean, renewable energy generation capacity to the country's grid.
In April 2020, MIGA issued guarantees that will support Djibouti’s first utility-scale wind project, which also represents the country’s first independent power producer (IPP). The guarantees amount to US$91.6 million and cover up to 90% of investments made and future earnings in the project for up to 20 years. They will provide protection against Currency Inconvertibility and Transfer Restriction, Expropriation, Breach of Contract, and War and Civil Disturbance.
In addition to its own resources, MIGA is using the International Development Association’s (IDA) MIGA Guarantee Facility (MGF) to provide a first-loss layer in support of the project. The MGF helps bridge gaps where market and MIGA-arranged capacity are insufficient or unavailable to crowd in private investment.
West Bank and Gaza Investment Guarantee Trust Fund
The West Bank and Gaza Investment Guarantee Trust Fund was established in 1997 by MIGA, the Palestinian Authority, Japan's Ministry of Finance, and the European Investment Bank. It assists the West Bank and Gaza, a fragile and conflict-affected situation (FCS), in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI), and in turn promoting local private sector investments and contributing to reconstruction and economic growth. The fund offers foreign and local private sector investors insurance that allows them to manage non-commercial risks.
The trust fund has been supporting a number of projects across Palestine, including Nakheel Palestine for Agricultural Investment, Al Haram Modern Plastic Products Industry Company, Al Jebrini Cheese Industry, Beit Jala Pharmaceutical Company, National Beverage Company (Gaza Branch), and a landmark solar energy plant in Gaza.
Nourah Mehyar from Jordan Wins MIGA's Inaugural Gender CEO Award
In March 2016, MIGA awarded Nourah Mehyar, CEO of NAFITH Logistics—a multinational logistics company based in Jordan, its inaugural Gender CEO Award. MIGA insures NAFITH's investment in Iraq, which involves building and managing a system in the Basra governorate to control trucks entering and exiting three ports and the Safwan border crossing with Kuwait.
Under the leadership of Nourah Mehyar, NAFITH Logistics set up subsidiaries in developing economies in the Middle East, including fragile and conflict-ridden areas. These businesses have modernized networks, created jobs, empowered women and had significant impact on local and national economies.