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Conference Cosponsored by IFC Finds that Protecting Shareholders Attracts Investment



In Cairo
Martin Steindl
Phone: +(0020) 2 461 9150
E-mail: msteindl@ifc.org


Cairo, December 21, 2006— The International Finance Corporation and the Egyptian Institute of Directors recently sponsored a conference to discuss how best to protect shareholder rights.  Some 60 representatives from Egypt’s private sector attended the event, which highlighted voting rights, related party transactions, and insider trading. Topics included the role of shareholders and how to treat them using best practices of corporate governance.  

Participants reviewed international best practices in corporate governance and compared them to existing practices in Egypt.  They also looked international best practices on related party transactions and insider trading.  Discussions helped define solutions on how shareholder rights could be efficiently protected by nonprofit organizations or through alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration.

“What is often overlooked is how the quality of shareholder protection affects the depth of capital markets,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Egyptian Institute of Directors, Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din. “Where laws and corporate action are protective of shareholders and well enforced, shareholders tend to be willing to invest their capital.  If corporate governance is to be properly implemented, shareholders must play an active role  in making sure that their investments are carefully considered and protected.


Jesper Kjaer, General Manager of IFC’s technical assistance facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, added “Shareholders have to be treated fairly and with equal regard and respect. This precept conforms to the corporate governance requirement that directors act in the best interests of all shareholders and not just the shareholder that may have nominated and elected them to the board.”

IFC has helped improve corporate governance in over 80 countries, many of them in the Middle East and North Africa.  IFC is engaged in several corporate governance advisory initiatives in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

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 the Egyptian Institute of Directors
The Egyptian Institute of Directors was launched in 2005.  It provides corporate governance services to private and public sector companies, with a focus on listed companies.  The Institute’s objectives are to become a private, nonprofit, self-financed, membership-based organization; conduct training events (conferences, roundtables, seminars, and workshops); launch research and publications to raise awareness and provide practical guidance on corporate governance; and provide policy advice to the public sector on improving the legal and regulatory framework for corporate governance.  For more information, visit www.eiod.org.