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IFC Receives Award for Alternative Dispute Resolution Project in Pakistan


In Cairo
Egidio Germanetti
Phone: +20 461 9150 Ext. 314
Email: egermanetti@ifc.org

Riham Mustafa
Phone: + 20 461 9150 Ext. 316
Email: rmustafa@ifc.org


London, October 2, 2006— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, received an award in London recently for its alternative dispute resolution project in Pakistan.  IFC received the Center for Effective Dispute Resolution’s Award for Excellence in the “International Category”. The project has introduced alternative dispute resolution in Pakistan to tackle a massive backlog of 1.1 million civil cases waiting to be heard.

The presentation of the 2006 Center for Effective Dispute Resolution Awards was attended by 250 participants from the legal and alternative dispute resolution community. The selection was made by an independent panel of judges consisting of Robert Ivens of Marks and Spencer, Justice Lightman of the High Court, Phillip Naughton QC of 3 Serjeant's Inn Chambers, Sir Brian Neill of 20 Essex Street Chambers and Chair of the Civil Mediation Council, Joanna Page of Allen and Overy LLP, David Pearson of The Treasury Solicitors and Deborah Prince Of  Which? (The Consumers’ Association).

IFC’s technical assistance facility, PEP-MENA, launched the project in Pakistan in November 2005 in cooperation with the country’s government. A pilot mediation center in Karachi will help release assets caught up in legal disputes and will assist small and medium enterprises in handling expensive and lengthy court procedures. The center will act as a mediation and training institute with a database of regional mediators available across the country.

Contract enforcement in Pakistan normally requires a five- to 10-year litigation process, and commonly an average of 35 percent of a company’s assets are caught up in the litigation. Commercial dispute settlement processes are generally seen as slow, inadequate, and inefficient, as well as unable to support market-based growth or encourage domestic and foreign investment. Small and medium enterprises constitute 90 percent of the local business in Pakistan, and companies have few alternatives in the event of a contract breach. This situation discourages foreign and local investments in the country.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

PEP-MENA is IFC’s technical assistance facility that supports private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.