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World Bank Group in Partnership with Switzerland Launches Project in Colombia for Corporate Governance


In Bogota, Colombia:
Darcy Crowe, IFC

Phone: +57 1 313 6449
E-Mail:
dcrowe@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:
Loty Salazar, IFC
Phone: (202) 458-2559
E-mail:
lsalazar@worldbank.org


Bogota, Colombia, February 24, 2015—The World Bank Group launched a corporate governance advisory project for Colombia with the financial support of Switzerland, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to help firms improve their performance, access to finance, and overall sustainability.

The project will also promote better governance practices to contribute to the sustainability of key corporate governance institutions and to strengthen regulations on corporate governance. The project will seek to work with government entities such as the Finance Ministry and Defense Ministry, among others, so state companies that are controlled by these ministries also become part of the program.


The project, which is slated to last at least until end June 2018, seeks to improve Colombia’s regulatory framework for corporate governance, a topic that is becoming increasingly important as it is a key item in the government’s efforts to ensure that the country becomes part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD).

The project will also help the private sector implement better corporate governance practices that generate greater transparency, accountability, and operational efficiency to help businesses improve their access to capital and enter new markets.  Additionally, better corporate governance practices usually lead to sustained growth and profitability of companies, thus allowing them to serve as an engine of economic growth and job creation.


“Better governance leads to more efficient and successful companies,” said Carlos Leiria Pinto, Head for the Andean Region of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. “We hope that strengthening governance practices in Colombia will lead to more efficient management in family-owned companies and SMEs and contribute to Colombia’s long-term economic growth,” he said.

A key objective will be to promote the creation of an Institute of Directors that will offer support and training for board directors in the country and act as an intermediary to enable effective dialogue between the regulators and the private sector. While these institutes already exist in most of the region, Colombia still lacks an institute dedicated to corporate governance issues and training.  


In addition to this advisory project, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has promoted good corporate governance at the company level—by assisting its investment clients—and at the country level, through other advisory projects supporting a better investment climate, and by promoting good practice standards and guidelines.


“Switzerland, through its economic cooperation, has been supporting over 25 programs to promote corporate governance in developing countries. The results indicate that by means of these interventions more than 15,000 companies have been trained directly and $ 5.5 billion have been mobilized in new funding in more than 30 countries. We’re glad to continue working on this path with this new project in Colombia”, added Mr. Kurt Kunz, Swiss Ambassador in Colombia.

In Colombia, IFC seeks to support sectors that are essential for the country’s social and economic development, such as infrastructure, health, education, agribusiness, and public-private partnerships to build ports, roads, and airports. It also promotes access to financing for microenterprises and small and medium-sized businesses and is helping to improve the investment climate by simplifying regulations and the management of royalties. The IFC investment portfolio in Colombia stands at US$1.5 billion, of which US$500 million has been mobilized from other financial institutions.


About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit
www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About the Swiss Economic Cooperation

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO) is the federal government's center of expertise for all core issues relating to economic policy in Switzerland. Through its economic cooperation and development division, it aims to contribute to sustainable economic growth in partner developing countries, promoting appropriate regulatory conditions and economic policies. For more information, please visit
www.seco-cooperation.admin.ch  

Ana Maria Bautista, Swiss Embassy
Phone: +57 1 3497230
Email: bvq@eda.admin.ch