Ms. Maria Livanos Cattaui
On behalf of the coordinating group for the business sector may I thank the United Nations and Your Excellencies for inviting the business sector to take part in your proceedings. I will report on ours, and I will be considerably shorter than the five minutes requested.
The business sector just held our international forum next door, and our approach can be summed up in one phrase: letís move from words to action. To do so, we put together a whole spectrum of concrete, doable and practical proposals and projects to facilitate the flow of capital to developing countries. Each one of our proposals and projects requires partnerships with Governments and international organizations. Each one has been put forward in this forum, and will be discussed in the next days in informal follow-up dialogues held in this building in the business area.
To give you a quick flavour of these proposals I will cite my three co-organizers of the forum. Firstly, Barbara Samuels called for a global information clearing house, which has had initial support from the Norwegian Government and the Ford Foundation. It is aimed at strengthening information and analysis in the global financial system. As an independent expert information initiative, the focus is on bridging costly gaps between investors and Governments. There are four related functions: the establishment of a global information clearing portal; development of country investor networks; the creation of independent expert groups; and the facilitation of independent audits and performance benchmarks.
The second citation is from Crocker Snow of the Money Matters Institute. Indigenous domestic capital formation is key to creating and attracting foreign capital. Microcredit can serve a key role for small start-ups in poor countries. At the next stage, venture capital financing, particularly in basic information-technologies-related companies and services, have the greatest prospect for leapfrogging development. A proposal was made for an omnibus venture capital fund, partly helped by Governments.
The third one is from Paul Underwood, director of the Business Council for the United Nations. Economic development requires ongoing access to private-sector capital in both equity and debt finance. In our panel on closing the gap in liquidity, the Business Council invited leading professionals in investment finance to present a variety of mechanisms, strategies and public-private partnerships. These proposals included innovative methods of financing power, water and other infrastructure projects to strengthen the ability of small- and medium-size companies to attract investment, to create world development cooperation to enhance funding, management, technology and market access and to create an independent expert advisory group to enhance access to debt markets, better allocate risk between public and private sectors and lower the cost of capital for developing countries.
Finally, from my own organization, the International Chamber of Commerce, our proposal concerns a joint project with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for stimulating investment in the very least developed countries. This project is already under way. It brings together individual Government leaders with local and international business to survey, benchmark and progress on the obstacles to any investment, local or international, and to make clear, unbiased, credible and truthful guides for companies of all sizes concerning what they can effectively do in the least developed countries.
The private sector is committed to follow through on its many proposals tabled at this conference and to lend our support to your efforts in fulfilling the objectives of this conference.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.