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IFC Sponsors Trade Fair to Promote Market Access for Small Businesses in Nicaragua


In Peru
Paul Melton

Phone: +51 1 611 2510

Email:
pmelton@ifc.org


Managua, Nicaragua, February 11, 2005.— More than 30 Nicaraguan furniture manufacturers presented their products to 3500 domestic and international buyers during the fifth Nicamueble furniture show, co-sponsored by International Finance Corporation’s Latin America and Caribbean Technical Assistance Facility, with funds from the SME Capacity Building Facility.

The event, held annually by local NGOs Nicamueble, was first organized in 2001 to provide Nicaraguan furniture producers a means for promoting their goods domestically and extending their reach to international markets.  Each year, the event has grown in terms of both participation and sales.  Over the last five years, the event has generated more than $ 200,000 in sales for over 20 small and medium businesses.  This year, sales are expected to reach $ 70,000.

According to Azucena Castillo, Minister of Industry and Commerce (MIFIC) in her opening address, “Expoventa Nicamueble provides Nicaraguan small and medium businesses an excellent opportunity to access and compete in the global market.”


IFC’s Latin America and Caribbean Technical Assistance Facility is working to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in Nicaragua’s wood sector and connect them to international markets.  Nine of the businesses participating in this year’s Nicamueble Expoventa have worked with the facility to improve their operational performance and productive capacity


“Strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in strategic sectors where countries have a comparative advantage is a key part of IFC’s overall technical assistance strategy. By incorporating environmental responsibility into its competitiveness projects in this sector, the facility is working to promote sustainable economic development,” affirmed Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.


The facility and WWF have also launched a program linking manufacturers, traders, and forest managers committed to the sustainable forestry. This project aims to:

       
Strengthen indigenous communities and private landowner’s abilities to engage in sustainable  forest management as an alternative to illegal logging
       
Increase the supply of responsibly-produced wood and wood products
       
Stimulate demand for products made from responsibly-produced wood
       
Improve business management and production of project participants
As part of the program Jagwood+, the WWF’s Mesoamerican and Caribbean Forest and Trade Network, provides market linkages, promotion, policy development, targeted market research, and technical assistance to its private sector members.


About IFC (International Finance Corporation)

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 FYO4, 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.

About IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean

The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC fund and project-specific funds from various donors (among them, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland).  The Facility’s work program is focused on sustainability, investment climate improvement, and strengthening SME competitiveness.  IFC also seeks to add value to IFC private sector development through projects such as linkages (which strengthen connections between investment clients and their local economies and communities) and business simplification.  The Facility, based in Lima, is currently operating in four countries (Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia) and is actively exploring opportunities for expanding to other countries in the region.