LIMA, PERU. December 3, 2004—Over 200
Peruvian business and government leaders attended the “Doing Business
in 2005: Removing Obstacles for Growth” seminar this morning. The
event, organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the
Confederación Nacional de Instituciones Empresariales Privadas (National
Confederation of Private Enterprise Institutions or CONFIEP) was opened
by Minister of Economy and Finance Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Following
the opening, IFC Executive Vice-President and World Bank Managing Director
Peter Woicke spoke on IFC’s strategy of adding value to private sector
investment, including technical assistance and investment climate improvement
World Bank Vice-President for Private Sector Development Michael Klein
provided the keynote address, highlighting key findings from the Doing
Business in 2005 report. While the global results from Doing Business
in 2005 are generally positive, those for Latin America are somewhat mixed.
Colombia led the region in investment climate reforms and was rated
the second-fastest reformer in the world. Argentina, Bolivia, and
Nicaragua all reduced the time necessary to start a business, and Brazil’s
credit registry implemented a number of wide-ranging reforms. However,
Latin America offers the weakest legal protection for lenders and borrowers
and has the least efficient process for resolving business disputes of
any region in the world. While only one nation in the region (Chile)
ranked in the top quartile globally for ease of doing business, four nations
(Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela) ranked in the bottom quartile.
Anita Bhatia, General Manager of IFC’s Technical Assistance Facility for
Latin America and Caribbean followed with a presentation on the role of
technical assistance in adding value to the Doing Business agenda. In response
to the needs identified by Doing Business and demand received from municipal
governments, the Facility has made simplifying business regulations as
one of its core areas of focus. The Facility has successfully completed
a pilot simplification project in La Paz, Bolivia, and, based on the results,
developed a program of municipal and national simplification initiatives
across four countries. In Peru, the Facility is currently working
with the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima to simplify key business regulations.
In addition, the Facility is coordinating its efforts in Lima with
other national stakeholders to develop a national plan for replicating
the results. To enhance the sustainability and facilitate replication
of these projects, the Facility is also creating a set of tools, distilled
from the lessons learned and best practices accrued.
A panel discussion followed, moderated by Ricardo Vega Llona, President
of CONFIEP’s CRECE PERU committee and featuring commentary from three
Peruvian economic and political analysts: Felipe Ortiz de Zevallos,
Rector of the Unviersidad del Pacífico and founder of the Apoyo research
institute; Beatriz Boza, President of Ciudadanos al Día, a local NGO dedicated
to increasing transparency in public administration; and Fritz Du Bois,
Manager of the Instituto Peruano de Economía. The presenters and
panelists then took questions directly from the audience, addressing specific
concerns from the business community regarding simplification issues.
In bringing together Peruvian business leaders, leading analysts, and IFC,
the seminar provided a valuable opportunity for increasing awareness of
the importance of business regulation to the investment climate and disseminating
the results of Doing Business 2005. Additionally, the seminar served
to introduce the business community to the Facility, which opened its central
office in Peru three months ago.
“Peru is home to several important IFC investments as well as innovative
technical assistance initiatives. The Doing Business seminar was
an excellent venue for presenting IFC’s key strategic messages—especially
those outlined in Doing Business in 2005—to local stakeholders,” noted
Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing 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 FY03, IFC has committed more than $37
billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.
ABOUT IFC TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FACILITY FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean
is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC fund and project-specific
funds from various donors (among them, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and
Switzerland). The Facility's work program is focused on sustainability,
investment climate improvement, and strengthening SME competitiveness.
IFC also seeks to add value to IFC private sector development through
projects such as linkages (which strengthen connections between investment
clients and their local economies and communities) and business simplification.
The Facility, based in Lima, is currently operating in four countries
(Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia) and is actively exploring opportunities
for expanding to other countries in the region.