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IFC appoint Thomas Jacobs as Country Manager for Cambodia and Mekong Region

Cambodia investment Review

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has appointed Thomas Jacobs as its new country manager for the Mekong region covering Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR.

Based in Hanoi, Jacobs will focus on supporting the private sector to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth that helps the countries to achieve their development targets and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.  

A United States national, Jacobs joined IFC in 2003, and worked across various regions, including Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands. He led innovative initiatives around women’s access to finance, micro, small, and medium enterprises, and climate, supporting reforms and policy implementation for private sector-led growth across sectors, including infrastructure, agribusiness, banking, and tourism.

Jacobs succeeds Kyle Kelhofer, who has taken on a new role as Senior Country Manager for Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo, after serving as the Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR for seven years.   

“Working across regions for two decades, Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role, which will help deepen IFC’s engagements in areas central to the next chapter of the economies in the Mekong countries,” said Kim-See Lim, IFC Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific.

“As the economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs and his team will continue supporting Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR to build back better and greener, unlocking the potential of the private sector to boost productivity, competition and innovation in the economies.”

Jacobs’ priorities include increasing financing for local businesses, expanding renewable energy, and promoting climate-smart initiatives to support countries’ climate agenda.

“The Asia Pacific region is one where all the talk and commitments out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will ultimately be won or lost, so a strategic focus for me will be helping countries address their development needs while delivering on their climate pledges,” said Jacobs.

“It’s vital to help countries power their future growth in a sustainable way so that economic development does not come at a detrimental cost to the environment.”

IFC’s investment in Vietnam has ramped up over the past five years, expanding into the real sectors with a focus on infrastructure, renewable energy and agribusiness as well as facilitating climate-smart and innovative initiatives.

In Cambodia, IFC has helped foster a robust and competitive private sector by expanding access to finance for smaller businesses, boosting climate-smart agriculture, and improving sustainable infrastructure services essential to business.

In Lao PDR, IFC has focused its financing and advisory work on key areas critical to private sector development and economic growth, including financial, connectivity, renewable energy and job creating sectors as well as overall investment climate.

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