Press Releases

IFC-SEDF to Partner with Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s Rural Business Hub Initiative in Northeastern States

In New Delhi
Minakshi Seth
Phone: +(91) 11 4111 1058
Cell.: +(91) 98101 84451

New Delhi, December 7, 2006 - The International Finance Corporation’s South Asia Enterprise Development Facility (IFC-SEDF) will partner with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj to facilitate and support rural business hubs in Northeast India. This public-private partnership will establish five rural business hubs, assisting farmers, artisans, and small entrepreneurs to increase yields, improve quality, reduce transaction costs, and enhance market access.

IFC-SEDF’s collaboration with CII and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj aims to set up rural business hub pilots that are viable, scalable, and replicable in agribusiness, poultry, fisheries, handicrafts and alternative energy.  The partnership will also support capacity building in Northeast India and support market linkages for business expansion and product marketing.

Mani Shankar Aiyar, Honorable Minister of Panchayati Raj; Development of North Eastern Region; and Youth Affairs and Sports; presided over the signing of the memorandum of agreement between CII and IFC-SEDF, and said, “The rural business hubs initiative is a flagship project of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, launched in partnership with CII, and it is heartening to see IFC come forward to partner with us in this effort.  The initiative aims to foster economic growth in rural India by facilitating direct linkages between industry and rural communities.”

Sunil Kant Munjal, Past President, CII, and Chairman, CII Mission for Inclusive Growth, noted that, “The rural business hubs initiative fits in well within the CII’s focus on inclusive growth. There is a need for a better understanding of the Northeastern region and a thorough analysis of the potential it offers.”

Iyad Malas, IFC Director, South Asia, said, “This partnership is in line with IFC's focus in India on rural sector development through private sector partnerships. Our overall approach is to work on projects in agribusiness or with rural linkages, help build rural infrastructure, and provide access to rural finance and related rural services.”

Anil Sinha, General Manager, IFC-SEDF, added, “Our international expertise and experience with capability building networks, skill development and training, and market linkages will be useful in setting up rural business hubs in a challenging environment.”

About CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry led and industry managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process. Founded over 111 years ago, it is India’s premier business association, with a direct membership of over 6,300 organizations from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 90,000 companies from around 336 national and regional sectoral associations.  

A facilitator, CII catalyses change by working closely with government on policy issues, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and expanding business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and global linkages. It also provides a platform for sectoral consensus building and networking. Major emphasis is laid on projecting a positive image of business, assisting industry to identify and execute corporate citizenship programs. CII’s theme of “Competitiveness for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth” reflects the Confederation’s commitment to balanced development that encompasses all sectors of the economy and all sections of society, at all levels – Global, National, Regional, State and Zonal.

CII launched its program Mission for Inclusive Growth this year, which aims to mainstream economically backward parts of India by drawing together socially and economically backward classes into a virtuous cycle of growth, development and empowerment through a series of focused interventions in rural and urban India.  

With 57 offices in India, 7 overseas in Australia, Austria, China, France, Singapore, UK, USA and institutional partnerships with 240 counterpart organizations in 101 countries, CII serves as a reference point for Indian industry and the international business community.

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


IFC's South Asia Enterprise Development Facility (IFC-SEDF) is a multi-donor funded facility managed and operated by IFC. SEDF is one of the 11 regional programs being managed by IFC worldwide. Set up with the objective of promoting the growth of SMEs in the region, IFC-SEDF is funded by IFC and the governments of Netherlands and Norway, European Commission, DFID (UK), CIDA (Canada) and ADB. IFC-SEDF provides increased access to finance and quality business development services to projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, North East India, Sri Lanka and Maldives. IFC-SEDF also supports value addition to firms through tailored enterprise and organisation-specific technical assistance, capacity building programs, training, research, etc., and helps create an enabling business environment.