Published 2018
Private investment in risky places
By Magdi M. Amin and Martin Spicer

Magdi M. Amin is an Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, on leave from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he was the Manager of Corporate Strategy. His team supported IFC’s strategy initiatives aimed at putting the private sector at the centre of development solutions and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This included IFC’s long-term strategy, IFC 3.0, annual strategy processes at the World Bank Group and corporate level, engagement with Multilateral Development Banks / International Financial Institutions (MDBs/IFIs), Sector Deep Dives, and IFC’s Economic Advisory Board. Since joining the World Bank Group in 1998, Magdi has held positions in East Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in both the World Bank and IFC, including managing or leading private sector development programmes in Thailand, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Martin C. Spicer is the Director of Blended Finance at the IFC, where he manages a team of investment professionals responsible for co-investments originating from US$ 1 billion of blended finance facilities across sectors, including climate, agribusiness, and small and medium enterprises. He also oversees the IDA18 Private Sector Window, a US$ 2.5 billion multifacility blended finance initiative focused on the poorest, most fragile and conflict-affected countries. Martin has previously led investment teams in IFC’s manufacturing, agribusiness and services business in Latin America; telecommunications, media and technology business in Asia, Europe and the MENA; and infrastructure and natural resources in Europe.

For decades, the challenge of bringing private investment to bear in fragile and low-income states has been a focus in development discourse. Despite a need for the jobs, services and revenues that the private sector can provide, the risks of investment have been prohibitive.¹ New World Bank Group financing instruments offer the promise to mitigate risks and, alongside reforms, can help realise the potential of private investment in risky places.