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IFC Launches Business Start-Up Simplification Project in Alexandria


In Washington:
Corrie Shanahan

Phone: (202) 473 2258

Email:
cshanahan@ifc.org

In Cairo:

Patricia J. Mccall

Phone:  +1 (20-2) 574 8150 ext: 803

Email:
pmccall@ifc.org


Alexandria, Egypt, October 3, 2005 -- The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with Egypt’s Governorate of Alexandria and the country’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones to simplify the registration of new businesses in Alexandria. The project is organized by IFC’s technical assistance facility in the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA.

Private sector development and support of new business development are critical to Egypt’s economic growth and prosperity.  Recent studies indicate that the country has made significant progress in creating a better environment for private investment and in improving the regulatory process. This program is intended to increase Egypt’s attractiveness as a location for private investment, as part of the country’s ongoing program for economic reform.

Doing Business in 2006 – Creating Jobs,
an annual report from IFC and the World Bank that compares the ease of conducting business in 155 countries, found that starting a business in Egypt takes about 34 days and requires, on average, 10 procedures. The report also noted that Egypt was one of the world’s top 12 reformers of business regulation in the past year. However, improvement is still needed.

Egypt’s government has been quick to recognize the importance of these issues and is engaged in several initiatives to foster the growth of the private sector and enhance the environment for business. Current initiatives include One Stop Shops for entrepreneurs run by the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in both Cairo and Alexandria.

The IFC PEP-MENA Business Start-Up Simplification Program will support the One Stop Shop in Alexandria, with the aim of decreasing the regulatory burden on the private sector through a comprehensive review and restructuring of current procedures. The project’s main objective is to reduce the time and cost of registration and licensing. This will encourage local and foreign investment into Alexandria while improving the regulatory environment for businesses.

Jesper Kjaer, General Manager of IFC’s facility, said, “IFC is delighted to collaborate with the Governorate of Alexandria and GAFI and support the development of the local investment climate with specific assistance to enhance and simplify the  process of registering businesses.  This will encourage the growth of investment, especially for small and medium businesses.”

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 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.

PEP-MENA is IFC’s technical assistance facility supporting private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa. It focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment in the region; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.