Baku, February 12, 2003—The International
Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has
partnered with BP, Statoil, GTZ (the German agency for technical assistance),
and the Baku Enterprise Center to launch a program to help local businesses
benefit from investments in the oil industry, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline. IFC is contributing $250,000 to the program.
The program is part of IFC’s strategy of working closely with its clients
and partners to provide developmental support to major projects. This support
is directed at expanding the local supply and distribution chains to create
more opportunities for smaller businesses and to assist in sustainable
community development efforts.
The program which is linked to IFC’s proposed investments in both the
Azeri, Chirag, and Deepwater Gunashli oilfield and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline projects, is being launched initially in Azerbaijan and will be
expanded to Georgia and Turkey.
The objective of the program is to better equip Azeri businesses to participate
in business opportunities related to, but not exclusively, the on-going
oilfield developments. The program focuses on helping companies overcome
obstacles preventing them from winning contracts related to the projects.
The program centers on three principal areas:
- Technical assistance to targeted Azeri service
and supply companies
- The development of local consultancy capacity
in the provision of business services
- The development of new financial products
aimed at improving access to capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Up to 30 local companies will take part in the program and will come from
subsectors that the project team has already identified as providing long-term
opportunities when the oilfield projects come on stream.
Each company will undergo a “diagnostic” review to establish what sort
of technical assistance is needed. The assistance will then be tailored
to their needs and provided over a period of one year, addressing issues
such as business planning, assistance with access to capital, management
training, and the attainment of standards required by the international
business community based in Baku.
Also included in the linkage program will be the generation of an “SME
map”, which will describe the business environment in which local companies
operate, including access to enterprise support services and finance.
All of the partners in the program — BP, Statoil, GTZ, and the Baku Enterprise
Center—are providing funds in kind and in cash. GTZ will be responsible
for delivery of the program providing expertise to work with local companies.
The Baku Enterprise Center will provide data on the industry as well as
individual expertise. A full-time SME coordinator will manage the program
on behalf of the partners.
“We are delighted that the IFC linkage initiative is now underway in Baku
with the first of its four-point program,” said Mr. Harold Rosen, director
of the SME Department at IFC. “The key strength of this program is the
partnership between IFC and BP, Statoil, GTZ, and the Enterprise Center—all
providing money, time, and knowledge towards the success of the initiative.
This will help ensure that the assistance is market-focused with all players
bringing expertise to the table.”
“It is also pleasing to have GTZ involved, providing funds and expertise,
in addition to its international experience in the delivery of these types
of programs,” Mr Rosen added.
IFC’s mission 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, and provides technical assistance
and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding in 1956
through FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds
and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing
countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1
billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan
IFC press releases are available on line at http://www.ifc.org/pressroom