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IFC Helps Timor-Leste’s Business Community Create Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Dili, Timor-Leste, April 17, 2010 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping strengthen the business capacity of Timor-Leste by supporting the private sector’s creation of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry to provide a variety of services for local businesses and represent the business community in dealings with the government.
Members of the business community voted to elect the leadership and formalize the Chamber during a National Congress held in Dili on April 16 and 17.  Attendees included over 200 representatives from 17 business associations
“The development of the private sector is critical to the development and economic growth of the country,” said Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão.  “We are committed to working with the Chamber to ensure that Timor-Leste has the necessary business and economic conditions to further private sector growth.”
IFC assisted in the formation of the Chamber via the public-private dialogue group, known as the Better Business Initiative, and the Chamber’s planning body, the Comissão Instaladora.  Through the Comissão Instaladora, the Better Business Initiative provided comments on proposed legislation to the government and helped reach a consensus on the Chamber’s governing statutes and regulation.
“We are very pleased to see the business leaders of Timor-Leste reach a consensus in creation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” said Rainer Venghaus, IFC Country Coordinator .  “Business members will benefit from the Chamber’s services, including business counseling and advisory, assistance with microbusinesses, business traning and education.”
An independent CEO will be appointed to the Chamber’s management team to ensure all of the group’s interests are represented.  The Chamber’s president will be responsible for leading and choosing members of the presidential council.  The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supported by Australia’s aid program, and the international development arm of the German business membership organizations, SEQUA, supported by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will provide ongoing support to the new Chamber.
IFC is working with the Timor-Leste government to improve the business environment, supporting economic growth and job creation through private sector development.  The governments of Australia and Japan support IFC’s program in Timor-Leste.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .