The World Bank’s insurance arm Miga is ramping up efforts to draw in foreign direct investment into the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region by offering US$1bn-worth in guarantees for the region.

This is double the insurance firm’s current gross exposure to the Mena region, which stands at US$494.5mn, with no new guarantees issued in the region for fiscal year 2010.

The move comes at a time when investors are looking to reduce exposure to Mena risk following the popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia.

Miga is hoping that the increased insurance capacity will mitigate political risk sufficiently enough to draw in investments from banks, financial institutions and governments around the world.

The insurance company is also offering shariah-compliant products, which is of particular relevance to firms in the region.

“Our development mandate obliges us to support investment where it’s most needed and to fill gaps in the market,” says Miga executive vice-president Izumi Kobayashi.

“This is precisely why Miga is setting aside capacity for the region at this crucial moment.”