Bogotá, Colombia, August 11, 2005 —
The International Finance Corporations’s Technical Assistance Facility
for Latin America and the Caribbean (IFC Plus) today signed an interinstitutional
agreement with the Mayor of Bogotá, the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá,
and Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (CONFECAMARAS) to work
together to improve the business enabling environment by reforming procedures
for business inspections carried out by the Municipality of Bogotá.
Colombia, one of Doing Business 2005’s “Top Reformers”, has made
significant progress in improving the business environment by simplifying
the procedures for formalizing businesses, reducing the associated time
and costs. As part of the country’s reform efforts, CONFECAMARAS,
in conjunction with local chambers of commerce, has developed a system
of “Business Service Centers” (“Centros de Atención Empresarial” or
CAEs), one-stop shops for complying with business regulations.
Currently, however, municipal inspections, which are performed after registration,
represent a challenge to creating a better business environment and reducing
informalitydue to inefficiencies and inconsistencies in their application.
Such discretionality reduces transparency and discourages other businesses
IFC Plus will work with its local partners to accomplish the following:
·Create working groups, with private sector
representatives, to identify the principal problems businesses encounter
·Evaluate current inspection procedures
to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement;
·Design proposals for reforming inspection
procedures and integrating them with the CAEs to improve their efficiency
·Implement the reforms approved through
consultation with local stakeholders;
·Develop and implement mechanisms for
sustaining the reforms; and,
·Monitor and evaluate the results of the
According to Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean,
“Improving the business environment is an on-going process rather than
a one-off event. This project demonstrates both the Municipality’s
commitment to building a better business environment and IFC’s ability
to leverage its technical assistance experience and expertise to create
innovative solutions for its stakeholders-”
IFC Plus is undertaking business simplification projects in several countries
throughout the region, including Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru.
These projects build on the findings from Doing Businesses, enabling
municipal governments to implement the report’s commendations.
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 FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.
The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean
(IFC Plus) is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC funds and program-specific
funds from various donors (including Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland).
The facility's work program is focused on improving the business environment,
enhancing local benefits from IFC investments, and broadening access to
finance for and strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises.
Based in Lima, the facility is operating in six countries (Bolivia, Brazil,
Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru) and is exploring opportunities
in other countries of the region.