World Bank Unit Vows $2 Billion to Ease Trade Among Poor Nations

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The International Finance Corp. is adding $2 billion in financing to help buy food and energy in poor countries hit by rapid price volatility.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said it is investing $1 billion in the new Critical Commodities Finance Program to support global trade in commodities and to ease energy imports. The organization is also adding $1 billion to its Global Trade Liquidity Program. The first $250 million of commodities money is being disbursed through Societe Generale SA, the IFC said in a statement.

“Many developing countries are vulnerable to food-supply shortages and price spikes because of difficulties importing essential equipment, fuel, and fertilizers,” said IFC Chief Executive Officer Lars Thunell in the statement. The new program “will provide much-needed support at a time when capital is becoming scarce for many businesses in developing countries.”

Agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa needs to double for the region to become self-sufficient in food, according to a study sponsored last year by businesses including Monsanto Co., DuPont Co., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Deere & Co. Rising food costs in 2010 and 2011 contributed to riots in North Africa and the Middle East.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at