The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, aims to pull in foreign direct investment into developing countries to help support economic growth, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. Christopher Millward, Acting Head of Europe at MIGA, discusses MIGA’s projects and objectives.
European Times: What does MIGA offer to its clients?
Christopher Millward: MIGA provides political risk insurance to private sector investors and lenders, which helps private investors obtain protection from untoward events such as appropriation or war-related disturbances in emerging economies. Since 1988, MIGA has issued more than US$28 billion in political risk insurance for projects across a variety of sectors, covering all regions of the world. Additionally, we offer a credit enhancement product that is more suitable for public sector projects.
European Times: What are the main activities of MIGA’s office in Paris?
Christopher Millward: About 75% of MIGA’s clients are based in Europe, and more specifically in Paris. The office is primarily focused on business development, by aiming to get closer to clients and generating more business. Additionally, we get involved in the execution of projects. Most projects MIGA supports tend to be located in Africa.
European Times: Which African countries and which sectors are in MIGA’s focus?
Christopher Millward: MIGA was actively involved in many projects in Africa in the past several years, mainly in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar. Last year, we provided US$783.2 million in guarantees for a project with Eskom in South Africa to help the country renovate and expand its electricity infrastructure. In terms of industries, most projects we support are in finance, energy and infrastructure. One of MIGA’s most notable projects is the Paul Garabedian Bridge in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. MIGA was one of the first multilateral institutions to support a new project in the country following the 2011 civil war.
European Times: How does MIGA operate?
Christopher Millward: MIGA supports projects with strong fundamentals and high development impact, so projects have a better chance of success by engaging MIGA at an early stage. We work with development partners, and additionally, help mobilize commercial financing in order to expand the lending envelope available to the private sector projects in Africa.
European Times: What is your personal message for potential investors?
Christopher Millward: The idea behind MIGA is to facilitate cross-border investments and mitigate risks, so I encourage investors who are dealing with potential risks in developing countries to contact MIGA for a forthright assessment. We focus on insuring investments in areas where we can make the greatest difference in boosting shared prosperity; we only support investments that are developmentally sound and meet high social and environmental standards.