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Private sector 'is engine of growth' - IFC World Bank

Private sector development is the most important engine of growth and job creation, said Lars Thunell, head of IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Thunell's observation came at the end of a one-day visit to the UAE, which highlighted IFC's continuing commitment to its well-established partnership with that country.

Thunell was accompanied by Michael Essex, IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa. "IFC's main focus in the UAE is development and promotion of investment and trade between emerging markets," said Thunell. "We see untapped opportunities, and we are committed to helping the country's private sector expand across the region. We also believe that improving corporate governance and promoting entrepreneurship are key to growth for the UAE's smaller businesses," added Thunell, IFC executive vice president.

IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa-PEP-MENA -has been very active in promoting responsible practices in corporate governance. Partnering with the Dubai International Finance Corporation, IFC PEP-MENA recently supported the launch of Hawkamah, Dubai's Institute for Corporate Governance. IFC and Hawkamah will improve corporate governance reforms and assist countries across the region in developing policies based on international best practices.

IFC PEP-MENA is also concentrating on the next generation of business people in the UAE. The country's overall population is expected to reach 5 million by 2010, half of them under the age of 20. To sustain the level of opportunities for young Emiratis, IFC PEP-MENA has partnered with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders to promote entrepreneurship. Programs aimed at the young entrepreneurs are based on IFC's Business Edge, the brand name for the Corporation's international range of management training products.-TradeArabia News Service

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