Flexible Investment Fund For Ghana

overnment has been given up to five years to apply for quick, flexible, result-oriented and demand-driven fund to undertake projects that will improve the investment climate of the country. The fund which is called �Investment Climate Facility for Africa� (ICF) has been funding series of new projects across sub-Saharan Africa. The ICF has been working closely with the respective African Governments to identify priority areas for intervention, with a view to systematically removing constraints to investment, in order to make the continent an even better place to do business and to help stimulate wider economic growth. The trust fund which started operations two years ago would cease operations in the next five years (2014). The Director of Project Development of ICF, Markus Faschina, told BUSINESS GUIDE in an exclusive interview in Accra last Friday that his outfit funds activities in eight priority areas, namely property rights and contract enforcement, business registration and licensing, taxation and customs, and financial markets. The rest are infrastructure facilitation, labour markets, competition, and corruption & crime. He said ICF has secured widespread support from a range of development partners including Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, African Development Bank and International Finance Corporation. The facility is also backed by a number of corporate investors namely Anglo America, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, SABMiller, Unilever, Zain, Standard Bank, Sasol and Shell Foundation. �ICF receives many projects application and have up to three months to release the fund provided the project meets our criteria. We want to know whether the project will produce significant positive impact on the investment climate, whether the government and private sector are involved in the project and whether the project reflects a broad range of interests,� Mr. Faschina told this paper. He said public or private entities or public/private partnership can apply for the fund, stressing that �the application must prove that it will have a positive influence on public policy towards business and investment�. Currently, the facility is active in 10 African countries. The countries include Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia. In Burkina Faso, the ICF�s activity falls into three categories: land registration, business registration and construction permit systems, all designed to improve different elements of the country�s business environment. In terms of land registration, the ICF is helping the Government to set up a �one stop shop� for land registration to help respond to a large demand for land title registration. In Sierra Leone, the ICF is working with the Government of Sierra Leone to install an effective land administration system. Sierra Leone�s land administration is structured upon laws implemented in the nineteenth century under colonial rule. Due to an archaic manual processing and recording system, few Sierra Leoneans or investors have confidence in land tenure. The ICF will work with the Government of Sierra Leone to reform the land administration system in order to increase investment into the property sector and improve the country�s overall investment climate. In Zambia, the ICF is developing a programme to modernise the country�s judiciary system in order to improve the legal and regulatory environment for trade. Mr. Faschina, who was in the country to brief the government officials and private sector operators of the facility, said Ghana must quickly apply for the fund to enable it become a major beneficiary of it. �The fund is on first come, first serve basis,� he added.