International Agency to Restart Business Aid After Five Months

After five months of preparation, a wing of the International Finance Corp is ready to provide full-scale business assistance services to Cambodia’s private enterprises, agency Country Director Don Boring said Thursday.

The Mekong Project Develop­ment Facility under International Finance Corp, the commercial lending arm of the World Bank, soon will start offering services in finance, education, consulting and research to strengthen small to midsize enterprises in Cam­bodia, Boring said.

“The climate of economic growth here is good. Cambodian investors are beginning to look at opportunities to spend money in Cambodia,” Boring said. “We want to assist such small and medium business enterprises to build up Cambodia’s business sector.”

The group, which also covers Vietnam and Laos, briefly had an office in Phnom Penh in early 1997. But after the factional fighting in July of that year, agency donors requested the Phnom Penh office be closed. The current office reopened in June this year. It will move to a new office next month with a larger staff, Boring said.

The Mekong Project Develop­ment Facility and International Finance Corp provide specialized assistance, including conducting feasibility studies and financial analysis, promoting partnerships between local firms and financial and technical partners.

Particularly in Cambodia, Bor­ing said, the International Fin­ance Corp will create business associations in sectors such bank­ing and hospitality industry. It also will provide consulting services and promote such emerging business opportunities as the Internet.

The Phnom Penh office al­ready has offered a specialized training program in banking management for mid-career loan officers.

It also has formed a rice mill association and developed a database on legally registered local businesses in Cambodia, Boring said. The agency will conduct an intensive business survey based on the database to find out specific assistance needs of local enterprises, he said.

“The real engine for poverty alleviation is the private sector,” Boring maintained.

“With a healthy private sector, a country can come up to the situation in which businesses create jobs,” he said.


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