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IFC Conference Discusses How Business-Friendly Regulations Promote Economic Growth


In Cairo:

Riham Mustafa

Phone: +20 2 461 9140

E-mail: Rmustafa@ifc.org


Alexandria 28 November 2006—Representatives from the Egyptian government, the private sector, and civil society gathered recently in Alexandria to discuss the importance of reducing red tape for businesses at a conference organized by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.  

The conference provided a platform for presenting various views on how to improve the country’s business climate. In three sessions, local and international speakers discussed the steps investors take to start businesses, drawing lessons from other countries.

The conference is an activity of the Business Start-Up Simplification Project in Alexandria, a partnership between IFC, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, and the governorate of Alexandria. The project, which is managed by IFC’s regional technical assistance facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, is building on reform efforts that are ongoing in Alexandria and across Egypt. The project is supporting authority’s One-Stop Shops in Egypt and the World Bank’s Alexandria Growth Pole Project to create simpler and more transparent processes for investors.  This will encourage local and foreign investment in Alexandria by improving the regulatory environment for businesses. It is expected that this pilot project will be replicated throughout Egypt in the future. .

“Business-friendly regulations are a key component for creating new enterprises and generating new jobs and income opportunities. The aim of this conference is not to highlight the difficulties investors face in starting businesses but rather to demonstrate how easily many of the difficulties could be removed. This would greatly benefit not only Alexandria, but the Egyptian economy as a whole,” said Frank Sader, Chief Strategist at IFC’s facility.

The government of Egypt has already carried out many reforms that promote a more favorable business environment.  For example, the country has cut registration fees for new businesses, reducing the cost by 40 percent. This reform project aims to provide further support for these efforts and to cut the time needed to start a business by at least 50 percent.

About IFC

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.

About PEP MENA
IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.