Seagriculture USA

11 - 12 September 2024

Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

International Finance Corporation’s approach to investing in seaweed production and application technologies in emerging markets

Ivan Ivanov, Global Lead for Sustainable Protein Advisory Services, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Vietnam

About speaker:

Mr Ivanov is the IFC’s Global Lead for Sustainable Protein Advisory Services, where he oversees all technical assistance to IFC’s animal protein and feed clients, a portfolio of 66 companies with an investment value of over $1 billion. Mr Ivanov has more than 25 years of experience setting up, managing, investing in, and advising private businesses. In IFC he has worked as Country head, Regional advisory manager, and Global agribusiness lead. Prior to IFC he has managed several successful private ventures in distribution and food processing in Eastern Europe.  



IFC — a member of the World Bank — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. IFC works in more than 100 countries, using capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org. 


As the largest global development institution focused on investing in the private sector in emerging markets, IFC sees significant opportunity in investing in seaweed in developing countries. Seaweed applications are growing. Seaweed could be used in the production of food additives and stabilizers, as well as in the cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology industries, and as a source of biofuels and natural fertilizer for agriculture. Seaweed-farmed products act as bio stimulants, may be able to displace fossil fuels in sectors such as fabrics and plastics; can provide ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and nitrogen cycling. Seaweed serves as a source of income for many coastal communities. However, the seaweed industry in many emerging markets where IFC invests still has untapped potential for both better seaweed farming and further processing. The seaweed industry in the markets where IFC invests also faces challenges. Large scale production with better traceability and quality remains a major constraint for the growth of new applications. Despite all this IFC remains optimistic and is actively looking for investment opportunities.