Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank Group (WBG) today agreed to appoint two liaison officers to serve as focal points in promoting awareness and participation of local companies in World Bank supported activities in Vietnam and in the world.
VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc signed the agreement with IFC Country Manager Sin-Foong Wong on behalf of the World Bank Group.
VCCI appointed two officers, Ms. Doan Thuy Nga in Hanoi and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Binh in Ho Chi Minh city, to be the first Private Sector Liaison Officers (PSLOs) in Vietnam. They will disseminate information about World Bank Group business opportunities, facilitate contacts between local companies and the Bank Group, and provide information on the Bank’s knowledge resources and partnership opportunities.
VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said,”This is an important initiative, which responds to the needs of the private sector and serves the private sector. We will not only look out for the direct interests of entrepreneurs in Vietnam, but also help the World Bank Group—and for that matter, the entire development community -in promoting vigorous private sector development in Vietnam. So in addition to being the focal point of information regarding business opportunities with the World Bank Group in Vietnam and worldwide, we plan to organize local events on development issues of interest to the private sector in Vietnam such as procurement seminars to train consultants and suppliers on competitive bidding procedures in World Bank funded projects.”
The PSLO network is a network of business intermediary organizations (chambers of commerce and industry, business and trade associations, or investment promotion agencies) working to foster trade and investment between countries with the support of the WBG’s products and services. The network consists of liaison officers – private sector communications professionals – appointed, based in and financed by their respective business intermediary organizations. The officers facilitate local companies’ access to WBG business opportunities, services and knowledge and act as the voice of their national private sector in advising the WBG on how to better engage companies on development issues.
Trained by WBG staff, the PSLO develops an expertise on WBG activities. The officers disseminate information about WBG business opportunities (procurement, IFC, MIGA, trust funds), facilitate contacts between local companies and the Bank Group, organize consultations on development issues of interest to the private sector (investment climate, Public Private Partnerships, carbon funds, HIV/AIDS, etc.) and provide information on the Bank’s knowledge resources and partnership opportunities. Although PSLOs do not have exclusivity as an entry point for companies interested in the WBG, their “insiders’ knowledge” of the World Bank Group and their local business community give them a distinct competitive advantage.
Launched in Europe in January 1999 as a joint World Bank, IFC and MIGA initiative, the PSLO network includes today some 54 PSLOs in 41 countries: 26 in Europe, 9 in Africa, 11 in South & East Asia, and 7 in North America and 1 in Latin America. It is expected that the network will quickly expto a total of 60 members by the end of year 2005.
The two PSLOs for Vietnam based at the VCCI offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are part of the South and East Asian PSLO hub which should very soon include PSLOs from China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
“The World Bank Group has been in continuous contact for many years with thousands of intermediary organizations worldwide. Now, with the PSLO network, we are in constant dialogue with faces, with people who will be able to tell us what we should be doing to perform our core mission of poverty alleviation better,” said Sin-Foong Wong, Country Manager, IFC Vietnam.