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World Bank Group Promotes Technology as Tool to Improve Investment Climate and Governance in the Middle East and North Africa


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa

Phone: +202 24 619 140
E-mail: RMustafa@ifc.org


Amman, Jordan, May 17, 2011 — As countries around the globe seek new ways to hone their competitive edge, the World Bank Group is helping governments improve their business environments by incorporating technology into government services that increase efficiency and help businesses grow.

Increasingly, governments around the world are using online information and technology, known as eGovernment, to ease the regulatory burden on businesses by making it easier for new entrepreneurs to register their businesses and access government services. Innovations such as cloud computing and mobile applications also offer new opportunities for governments to improve cost-effectiveness, increase transparency, facilitate the government-to-business dialogue, and extend access to information and services to entrepreneurs in underserved segments of the business economy.  


To support adoption of these technologies, World Bank Group recently sponsored an event in Amman, Jordan, that brought together eGovernment experts and investment climate reformers to explore how technology solutions can improve business and regulatory environments in Middle East and North African countries.


“While many of our clients have undertaken substantial legal and process reforms to improve their investment climate, the deployment of eGovernment services still varies widely across the Middle East and North Africa,” said IFC Manager Magdi Amin. “This event has enabled participants to learn more about emerging technology solutions, as well as the institutional and change management considerations they must address in re-engineering government service delivery.”


Jordan was a logical venue for the workshop, as the World Bank Group has already worked closely with the government there to create a more dynamic private sector through initiatives like streamlining the licensing and inspection process, helping establish a private credit bureau industry, and supporting the government’s creation of leasing legislation and promoting it among relevant stakeholders.

Workshop speakers included representatives from regional and international governments as well as World Bank Group specialists and private sector technology firms. These speakers highlighted a number of best practice technology approaches currently in use for registering businesses, administering business licenses and managing business inspections. Other workshop sessions focused on new innovations in technology and their application in facilitating government services.


The workshop was organized by the World Bank Group’s Investment Climate Advisory Services and Global ICT Sector Unit. Investment Climate Advisory Services offers client governments a range of advisory services to assist them in improving the investment climate for domestic and foreign investors. Support is provided to implement reforms that reduce unnecessary costs and risks faced by firms, strengthen fair competition, and promote investment.


More information on World Bank Group Investment Climate Advisory Services is at
www.wbginvestmentclimate.org.  

Further details on the World Bank’s eGovernment advisory services are at
www.worldbank.org/edevelopment.