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IFC and Catalonia Establish Private Sector Development Trust Fund


IFC
Georg Schmidt
Phone: +1 (202) 458-2934
Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4344
Email: Gschmidt@ifc.org

Consortium for the Commercial Promotion of Catalonia (COPCA)
Cristina Segura
Phone: +34 93 484 9630
Fax: +34 934 849 698
Email: csegura@gencat.net


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 countries.”

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.

About IFC

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.