Nicaragua: World Bank Approves US$17 Million for Competitiveness

  • Nicaragua
  • 08/25/2006

WASHINGTON- August 24, 2006 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved today a US$17 million, zero-interest credit to Nicaragua to strengthen the institutions involved in improving the competitiveness of the private sector (including small and medium sized enterprises) to meet the opportunities and challenges presented by the DR-CAFTA Free Trade Agreement.

“With DR-CAFTA in place, it is essential to support the institutions that will help the private sector grow, modernize and become more productive as a way to increase investment and exports,” said Jane Armitage, World Bank Director for Central America. “This project will help contribute to better living standards by increasing rural productivity, adding value to agricultural products and diversifying the export base.”

The Enhanced Competitiveness for International Market Integration Project seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Presidential Commission of Competitiveness (CPC) to provide technical leadership and coordinate the efforts of government agencies, municipalities, the private sector, civil society and donors in the field of competitiveness.

In particular, the project will support the following activities:

  • Improve business climate by removing administrative and regulatory obstacles to enable firms to register, pay taxes, register assets, export and import goods, and obtain permits more rapidly and efficiently. The initiatives will include both Managua and secondary cities.
  • Provide critical services to firms to enable them to become more competitive in national and international markets. This component will improve the efficiency of selected firms and value chains, improve the performance of selected firms through matching grants to help them raise quality and obtain certification, and improve firms’ access to market information, including regional and international benchmarking.
  • Strengthen the financial sector systems and diversify the products offered to the private sector. This component will strengthen the ability of the Superintendency of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (SIBOIF) to supervise financial institutions and ensure that their practices and systems comply with international standards on portfolio risk management and reporting. In addition, it will design and implement a comprehensive payments and securities clearance and settlement system reform.
  • Provide capacity building to the CPC in order to strengthen the leadership and coordination role of the institution in the field of competitiveness.

“Project activities will help the Government to create a better business climate, and provide incentives to the private sector to create jobs,” said Mike Goldberg, World Bank Senior Private Sector Development Specialist and Task Manager for the project. “At the same time, the project will enable Nicaragua to meet the requirements of regional and international free trade agreements, while strengthening the financial sector and maintaining fiscal discipline.”

The US$17 million, zero-interest credit from the International Development Association (IDA) is repayable in 40 years, including 10 years of grace.

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For more information on the Enhanced Competitiveness for International Market Integration Project, please visit the web site .

For more information on the World Bank’s work in Nicaragua, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/nicaragua

Contacts:
In Washington: Stevan Jackson (202) 458-5054
sjackson@worldbank.org
In Managua: Maria Teresa Norori (505) 265-0500, Ext. 436
mnorori@worldbank.org

Source: World Bank