July 5th, 2005, Washington D.C. ——
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, launched a new technical assistance and advisory program today
to help strengthen the development of the private sector and of infrastructure
in Southeast Europe. The Private Enterprise Partnership for Southeast Europe
has received start-up funding of $8.75 million from IFC for a period of
five years. The program will operate in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro.
PEP-Southeast Europe will initially pursue targeted, innovative interventions
to assist private sector development by strengthening the financial sector,
improving access to finance, upgrading the business enabling environment,
and establishing supply chain linkages. Projects will include the introduction
of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, a corporate governance program,
the establishment of recycling systems, and the introduction of EU and
international standards, among other efforts. The program will also
provide advisory services for the structuring and implementation of public-private
partnerships in infrastructure. IFC’s contributions to PEP-Southeast
Europe are estimated to leverage approximately $26 million in donor funds.
PEP-Southeast Europe emerged from a broad consensus within the host countries,
donor agencies, and IFC on the need to continue supporting the development
of a larger and more dynamic private sector in the region after June 30,
2005, when the mandate for Southeast Europe Enterprise Development - SEED,
IFC’s initial five-year technical assistance facility in the region, expired.
PEP-Southeast Europe will build on SEED’s substantial experience
and knowledge in the region, along with its best talent, which has been
a key success factor.
“Our new five-year program will be based on the Private Enterprise Partnership
model that IFC has used successfully to deliver technical assistance in
many other parts of the world,” noted Khosrow Zamani, IFC’s director
for Southern Europe and Central Asia. “In the coming years, PEP-Southeast
Europe will aspire to become the partner of choice for private sector development
in the region.”
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.