Karin M. Finkelston, Vice President, Asia Pacific, International Finance Corporation, or IFC, made India her first port of call after being appointed to the newly-created position. During her visit, Finkelston spoke to Sanjiv Shankaran on IFC's plans for the region. Edited excerpts of the interview:
On her appointment: The lion's share of the world's poor live in the Asia-Pacific region. That's the main reason for having this vice presidency. The second is the knowledge and innovation that is coming out of Asia and India in particular. Taking those models to other parts of the world will be an exciting part of my job.
On key ideas from India: Our work in India has three pillars. First is inclusive growth and trying to make sure people in rural as well as lower income states have access to growth. Second is to do that in a climate-friendly way. Third is global integration, around south-south. That comes from sharing innovative business models, working with Indian companies as they invest in Africa, Indonesia and other parts of the world.
On the importance of India: I came to India first because in IFC's global portfolio India is the largest. That reflects the emphasis we put on the country.
On future portfolio in South Asia: It will include access to infrastructure, particularly through public-private partnerships in health and education, as well as renewable energy. We also see opportunities to support farmers and link them to urban consumers… there are whole new agribusiness standards and products that can be put into the mix. The third area is access to finance and supporting the financial sector to develop products for small businesses.