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Vietnam’s Private Sector Takes Greater Role in IFC-supported Business Dialogue

Hanoi, Vietnam, February 8, 2012— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has handed over the secretariat of the Vietnam Business Forum to the private sector after more than a decade of managing the semi-annual dialogue with the government on improving Vietnam’s business environment.
Started in 1998, the Forum has facilitated reforms that reduced barriers and increased transparency in business development processes, encouraging investment.
Fourteen local and international business associations and chambers of commerce will collectively take over IFC’s role in managing the Forum’s day-to-day function.
“This new start for the Forum’s Secretariat highlights a natural extension of our role, which is to represent the business community in working with the Vietnamese government to remove constraints to the private sector’s ability to do business and create jobs,” said Christopher Twomey, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, a member of the consortium.
The transfer will not affect the Forum’s operations, structure, and activities. The Forum’s seven working groups—Banking, Infrastructure, Capital Markets, Manufacturing & Distribution, Education, Tourism and Mining—will continue to meet with government counterparts on a regular basis.
“We highly appreciate that the business community will be taking ownership of this initiative and we will continue to support its contribution to investment climate improvement in Vietnam,” said H.E. Bui Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment.
In partnership with the governments of Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland, IFC will continue to support the new secretariat in its coordination role. The World Bank and IFC will also continue to co-chair the Forum.
“We see a determination from both the private sector and the government to improve the business environment to attract more investment and trade,” said Simon Andrews, IFC Regional Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand. “Now that the dialogue process is well established, the forum should be driven by the business community to further promote the discussions and ensure its long-term sustainability.”
The Forum has also served as a model for similar IFC-supported public-private sector dialogue in Cambodia and Lao PDR.
The secretariat consortium consists of the chambers of commerce of Australia, Canada, Europe, Korea, Nordic countries and the United States, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  Leather and Footwear Association, Hanoi Young Business Association, British Business Group of Vietnam, Hong Kong Business Association, Japanese Business Association in Vietnam, Japanese Business Association in Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore Business Group.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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