Barcelona, March 29, 2006 – The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, has signed an agreement with the Consortium for the Commercial
Promotion of Catalonia to establish a €1 million trust fund that will
help promote the private sector in developing countries.
The trust fund, which will finance technical assistance projects using
Catalan consulting expertise, will enable Catalonia’s businesses to work
more closely with IFC in private sector development. The launching conference
hosted by the consortium in Barcelona was attended by over 100 consultants.
“Our trust fund is part of a plan for internationalizing Catalonia’s
economy, which we presented last year,” said Josep Huguet i Biosca, Minister
for Commerce, Tourism, and Consumer Affairs of the Autonomous Government
of Catalonia, who launched the fund together with Mwaghazi Mwachofi, IFC’s
Director for Trust Funds. Mr. Huguet i Biosca added, “The new trust fund
will support IFC’s mission of reducing poverty through private sector
development while helping Catalan consultants build their international
business in cooperating with the World Bank Group.”
Mr. Mwachofi noted, “IFC is very pleased to start this cooperation with
Catalonia. I am impressed by Catalan consultants’ high level of expertise,
which puts them in a good position to work with IFC and other multilaterals.
Their services will help us support private sector development in developing
The trust fund may support technical assistance projects in the regions
and sectors in which IFC is operating and where Catalan consultants have
relevant expertise. At the conference, many participants received in-depth
information on opportunities for cooperation in one-on-one discussions
with IFC officials.
Launched in 1988, IFC’s Technical Assistance Trust Funds Program provides
funding mainly for one-time technical assistance projects that help promote
private sector development in IFC client countries. In combining grant-funded,
complementary services with commercial investments, IFC offers integrated
solutions that add value to its projects. Trust fund projects range from
company-specific interventions, including feasibility studies and capacity-building
training programs, to advisory services to the governments of client countries.
Since its inception, the program has supported more than 1,500 technical
assistance projects in a broad range of sectors. Currently, the program
has funding agreements with 28 donor countries and regions and one corporation.
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates
its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but
is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide
its share capital and collectively determine its policies.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own
funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was
$19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants
in loan syndications. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Consortium for the Commercial Promotion of Catalonia
The Consortium for the Commercial Promotion of Catalonia (COPCA) promotes
the internationalization of Catalan companies on behalf of the Catalan
government. Its mission is to function as a focal point for value-added,
customized services that support this goal.
Since its creation in 1987 as a permanent consortium of 99 member organizations,
COPCA has built a team of 180 professionals working at its headquarters
in Barcelona and in the business capitals of 31countries. COPCA has
supported more than 35,000 internationalization projects and has organized
2,000 business missions to over 90 countries. Its 38 Business Promotion
Centers have supported 7,500 of these internationalization projects. COPCA
cooperates with international organizations, including the World Bank Group,
the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Commission, the United
Nations Development Program, the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean,
and the World Trade Organization. COPCA’s International Public Procurement
Service helps Catalan firms and consultants participate in international
projects funded by public institutions. For more information, visit www.copca.com.