Israeli cleantech has long been present in the American market. Companies like Ormat have been developing geothermal resources in the US for decades. Now Israeli companies may be getting support to expand to developing countries as well. A senior official from the International Finance Corp (IFC)–a member of the World Bank, with a portfolio of $12 billion, which actively supports investment in developing countries–said the group was looking to invest tens of millions in Israeli cleantech companies that could expand operations to developing countries, Reuters reported on May 17.
The World Bank generally invests in the companies of developed countries, with the agreement that the money will be used in “emerging markets,” Ruzgar Barisik, a senior IFC investment officer, told Reuters. Since 1974, the IFC has invested nearly $200 million in 18 Israeli developments in 14 countries. Some of those commitments include supporting a Home Center in Russia (a Home Depot like store), supporting the expansion of engineering firm Ashtrom’s in Jamaica’s Sangster International Airport and a 24 MW geothermal plant of Ormat‘s in Guatemala.
In recent years, IFC has been investing more in cleantech around the world, but primarily in India and China where industrial and commercian growth has outpaced progress of green technology. Since 1999, the World Bank has launched 10 Kyoto funds (to purchase carcon credits) and facilities capitalized at just over $2 billion, as well as five post-2012 carbon initiatives for which the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region has been a beneficiary. In terms of cleantech, the World Bank approved a loan of $1.2 billion Egyptian pounds in August 2010 to develop wind power in Egypt.
But this is the first major push for investment in Israeli companies for development in other regions.
“The segments we see most opportunities in are in technologies that relate to water – desalination, irrigation, waste and agricultural technologies,” said Barisik, who leads the IFC’s cleantech investments in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. “We are actively looking for (Israeli) businesses we can invest in.”
“Within the next 12 to 18 months we should have committed another $65 million across all sectors which includes cleantech and agricultural technologies,” he said, adding the number could be even larger. “Israeli companies are so strong … in developing new technologies.”
Image of wind in eye from Shutterstock