Zrenjanin, Serbia, June 11, 2007
— IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement
with the municipality of Zrenjanin in Serbia, marking a joint commitment
to improve the local business-enabling environment. Zrenjanin is one the
largest municipalities in Serbia, with some 132,000 inhabitants, and is
located in the northern province of Vojvodina.
“Our activities with IFC complement
our development plan. We hope to reduce the administrative burden for doing
business and attract new companies to our municipality,” said Goran Knezevic,
Mayor of Zrenjanin.
Improving the business environment by
simplifying administrative procedures and providing better services will
help reduce the cost and risk of doing business, increasing the competitiveness
of local municipalities and attracting more foreign direct investment.
“This agreement marks the beginning
our subnational competitiveness project in Serbia. By helping municipalities
simplify their procedures, we hope to develop a more favorable business
environment and stimulate the development of the country’s private sector,”
said Philip Condon, Head of IFC Advisory Services in Southern Europe.
According to Margo Thomas, IFC Business
Enabling Environment Manager and Regional Program Coordinator, the project
is designed to streamline business formalities and inspections procedures.
This will help increase the transparency and quality of business regulations
and reduce costs—important factors in improving competitiveness.
IFC provides advisory services to support
private sector development and attract new investments in Serbia. The programs
concentrate on four business lines: value addition to firms, access to
finance, infrastructure advisory services, and business-enabling environment.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.
IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in
generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people
have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06,
IFC Financial Products have committed more than $56 billion in funding
for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion
in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory
Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program
support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation
in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase
access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability.
For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.