Reykjavik, February 3, 2006— The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group has signed an agreement with the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign
Affairs to establish a $240,000 trust fund to help promote the private
sector in developing countries.
The trust fund, which will finance technical
assistance projects using Icelandic consulting expertise, will enable
Iceland’s businesses to work more closely with IFC in private sector development.
The new funding commitment deepens Iceland’s cooperation with IFC, which
started in 2004 when the Icelandic Government, Icelandic companies and
IFC jointly sponsored a survey of Russia’s fish industry.
“We are proud to provide funding and
expertise to IFC’s technical assistance program. Our Trust Fund will support
IFC’s mission of reducing poverty through private sector development while
helping Icelandic consultants better cooperate with the World Bank Group.
It is a win-win situation for all of us,” said Gunnar Snorri Gunnarsson,
the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Permanent Secretary of State, who launched
the fund today together with Mwaghazi Mwachofi, IFC’s director for Trust
Mr. Mwachofi noted, “The trust fund
marks a new era for IFC’s relationship with Iceland. This partnership
will help IFC address the various challenges it faces in strengthening
the role of the private sector in development.””
The trust fund may support technical
assistance projects in all regions and sectors in which IFC is operating.
The fund and other opportunities for cooperation with IFC were presented
today at a seminar for Icelandic companies hosted by the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs in Reykjavik.
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 then 1,500 technical assistance projects in a broad range
of sectors. Currently, the program has funding agreements with 25 donor
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
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 Iceland´s Policy on Development
Global development has become a prominent
aspect of Iceland’s foreign policy as laid out in a policy document on
Icelandic development cooperation for the 2005–2009 period.
The government has set a firm target
for increasing official development assistance and recognizes the importance
of reducing poverty through private sector development and economic growth.
Iceland’s private sector is increasing its cross-border activity, and
this provides an opportunity for expanding and deepening business relations
between enterprises in Iceland and the developing countries. Iceland aims
to cooperate with international agencies like IFC to build on this momentum.
For more information on Iceland´s development cooperation, visit www.mfa.is/foreign-policy/development-aid/.