Monday, January 22, 2007

Financial firms vow to back African businesses

MANAMA: Regional financial institutions yesterday offered their support to African countries in developing business enterprises using the Bahrain Model.

A meeting in Bahrain to discuss the projects was led by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) director-general Dr Kandeh Yumkella, a former minister of trade, industry and state enterprises in his country, Sierra Leone.

He opened the high-level consultative meeting on the Investment and Enterprise Development Programme in the Mano River Union.

The meeting was organised jointly by Unido and the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organisations.

It was attended by the ministers of trade industry and small enterprises as well as the secretary-general of the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Leading regional financial institutions such as the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Bahrain-based Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Dubai-based EMAAR Industries & Investment, as well as Agfund, offered their support to fund projects in African countries in partnership with Unido.

The Bahrain Model of Enterprise Development is to be used as a blueprint to nurture development in the countries, said Unido-Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO)-Bahrain head Dr Hashim Hussein.

Dr Yumkella visited the Bahrain Business Incubator Centre in Hidd yesterday.

The meeting yesterday at the Unido-ITPO office was also attended by Sierra Leone Trade and Industry Minister Dr Kady Sesay, Liberia's Commerce and Industry Deputy Minister Pete Norman, Unido ITPOs co-ordination unit chief Victor Zakharian, Unido Arab Programme chief Dr Mohamed El Gallaf, and officials from various financial institutions.

Before leaving Bahrain, Dr Yumkella will meet Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro to discuss the development of co-operation programmes between Unido and Bahrain.

Dr Yumkella will speak on Unido's involvement and activities in the water sector at the official opening of the fourth International Water Middle East 2007 at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre today.

Dr Yumkella is accompanied by senior staff from Unido headquarters in Vienna and the Unido country office for the Mano River Union countries.

Link to Gulf Daily News