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January 01 2007

IFC Partners With Operation HOPE to Promote Silver Rights Through Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship

IFC Becomes a Founding Sponsor for Banking on Our Future, South Africa

LOS ANGELES, CA  -- June 12, 2007 -- IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has committed to a partnership with U.S.-based nonprofit financial literacy and empowerment leader Operation HOPE (HOPE). The South African Banking on Our Future Program developed under the partnership will promote financial literacy education and entrepreneurship among South Africa\'s youth. IFC will provide $250,000 to support the program.

"Building human capital is a strategic priority for IFC in South Africa. We expect that the program will raise entrepreneurship skills among youth, resulting in more business startups, and increased job creation," said Bernard Chidzero, General Manager, IFC Advisory Services in Africa -- the Private Enterprise Partnership for Africa.

The two-year investment will help HOPE recruit, train and mobilize more than 250 professional HOPE Corps volunteers to educate 50,000 South African youth, young adults and women through the award-winning youth financial literacy program, Banking on Our Future. Learners will be educated in financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship. The program office will be located at CIDA University.

Banking on Our Future is Operation HOPE\'s initiative to empower youth with the basics of wise money management. Banking on Our Future, South Africa is comprised of six modules including the basics of banking, savings, checking, investment, dignity, and entrepreneurship. The program\'s focus is to promote self-reliance, self-esteem and self-sufficiency.

Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant said, "Operation HOPE is pleased to have the support of IFC as a founding sponsor. We applaud their commitment to the empowerment of low-wealth communities. Through their investment in \'silver rights\' we will be able to positively impact the lives of thousands of youth and young women in South Africa."

Banking on Our Future\'s expansion into South Africa is in line with the mission of both organizations to bring economic self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to the underserved communities. Before expanding to Africa, the program\'s proven success includes Oprah\'s Angel Network Use Your Life Award and the U.S. Treasury Department\'s John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excellence. In the last 10 years, some 6,000 HOPE Corps volunteers have educated more than 225,000 youth.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.