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By the numbers: World Bank’s lesser-known arm, the IFC

The International Finance Corporation has expanded rapidly in recent years, attracting attention for some of its high-risk private sector loans.

IFC sign.

While the World Bank has forged a global identity for itself lending to governments around the world for more than 70 years, its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), remains less well known.

With the growing push for private investment in developing countries, the IFC has expanded rapidly in recent years, lending to companies and private sector projects around the world. Human rights groups and former bank officials say the IFC takes greater risks and is less accountable than its higher profile counterpart. 

Many of its controversial investments involve loans to middlemen, such as banks, hedge funds and private equity firms, where the final recipient of the money remains unknown. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key numbers behind the latest installment in ICIJ’s Evicted and Abandoned series – a story about a deadly land conflict in Honduras with links to IFC money: 

International Finance Corporation’s 2014 annual lending commitments
(a 36 percent increase since 2010)

Estimated number of IFC projects with possible economic or physical displacement
(2004 – 2013)

The amount the IFC invested in “fragile and conflict-affected situations” in 2014.
The IFC says it will ramp up investments in these regions by 50 percent
between 2012 and 2016

42 percent
The proportion of the IFC’s portfolio invested in financial intermediaries in 2014,
rather than directly funding projects

6 percent
The proportion of “high-risk” loans to financial intermediaries since 2012 that disclosed
the final recipients of the money, according to an analysis by
the anti-poverty group Oxfam

The number of killings linked to land conflict in Honduras’ Bajo Aguán valley,
according to a special prosecutor.

The amount the IFC loaned to the Dinant Corporation, a key protagonist in the
violent land conflicts, in 2009. It was part of $30 million loan originally
approved by the IFC. The remaining $15 million installment
has thus far been withheld.

The amount the IFC loaned to Banco Ficohsa, a Honduran bank that would then go on
to lend $39 million to the Dinant conglomerate.

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