Press Releases

IFC Helping Pakistan Business Council Become a Strong Advocate for the Private Sector

In Karachi:
Moazzam Ahmed, Saima Zuberi
Phone: +(92 21) 561 0065

In Cairo:
Markus Pilgrim
Phone: + (202) 4619140/50

Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(20) 2 461 9150 ext. 306

Egidio Germanetti
Phone: +(20) 2 461 9150 ext. 314

Karachi, August 8, 2006— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has signed today a partnership agreement with the Pakistan Business Council,  to assist it in becoming an influential think tank and advocate for the country’s private sector.

The project, to be managed by PEP-MENA’s Access to Business Services program, aims at helping the most important private companies in Pakistan establish a body for private sector advocacy that will be highly reputable and independent of politics. The project will help the Pakistan Business Council develop proposals to improve the country’s regulatory environment in such areas as company legislation, product liability law, and tax reforms. The council also plans to initiate a dialogue with Pakistan’s government on the country’s trade agreements. The project is expected to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the growth prospects for the Pakistani private sector.

Markus Pilgrim, IFC's program manager, noted, "Business associations like the Pakistan Business Council can be a powerful tool for private sector promotion if they succeed in presenting an evidence-based and consolidated view of the business community. For this reason, we are interested in helping the council in establish a high-level public-private dialogue on how to improve the framework for doing business in Pakistan."

Salim Raza, the newly elected CEO of the council, explained that “Pakistan’s further integration into global markets requires a continuous dialogue between the private sector and government on the conditions necessary for improving international competitiveness.” He added that the government constantly voices the need for a partner in the private sector, one capable of providing evidence-based advice on legislation and developing a framework conducive to a business enabling environment.

The two-year project was developed on the basis of a visit the Pakistan Business Council’s new CEO paid to a European industry confederation, as well as a planning workshop, facilitated by IFC’s capacity building specialists, that the council’s board of directors attended earlier this year in Karachi. “The workshop helped us a lot in drafting a realistic work plan, which aims at achieving our ambitious goal of becoming a voice for the private sector,” said Salim Raza.

The Pakistan Business Council was formed in August 2005.  Its objectives are to promote economic growth in Pakistan, foster internal and external investment, and improve the country’s international competitiveness.

The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa is IFC’s technical assistance facility that supports private sector development across the region. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; 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.

PEP-MENA’s Access to Business Services program strengthens business membership organizations so that they become more effective service providers and more prominent advocates of a business-friendly environment. The program cooperates with these intermediary organizations as they provide a broad outreach to enterprises. It offers technical assistance on how to develop demand-driven and fee-based services for members and non-members, and it advises on how to do evidence-based advocacy.

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition 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