|THE WORLD BANK GROUP PRIVATE SECTOR LIAISON OFFICERS (PSLOs) NETWORK
The PSLO network is a network of presently 161 business intermediary organizations (chambers of commerce and industry, business and trade associations, or investment promotion agencies) in 108 countries working to foster trade and investment between countries with the support of IFI’s (WBG, IADB, EBRD, AFDB and ADB) 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 IFI business opportunities, services and knowledge and act as the voice
of their national private sector in advising the IFIs on how to better engage companies on development issues.
Trained by IFI staff, the PSLO develops an expertise on IFI activities. The officer disseminates information about IFI business opportunities, facilitates contacts between local companies and the IFIs, organizes consultations on development issues of interest to the private sector (investment climate, Public Private Partnerships, carbon funds, HIV/AIDS, etc.) and provides information on the IFI’s knowledge resources and partnership opportunities.
Although PSLOs do not have exclusivity as an entry point for companies interested in the IFI products and services, their “insiders’ knowledge” of the IFIs and their local business community give them a distinct competitive advantage.
Launched in Europe in September 1999 as a World Bank Group initiative, the PSLO network has
now also become a business outreach platform for IADB, EBRD, AFDB and ADB with the World
Bank Group playing a key role to actively manage this network.
With the PSLO network, the WBG is in constant dialogue with faces, with people telling us what we
have to do to perform our core mission of sustaining growth and poverty alleviation better.
10 Facts to capture the PSLO Network in action
- First PSLO appointed on September 20th 1999, at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of Milan/Promos in Italy; Jim Wolfensohn, president at that time, strongly supports the Network from the beginning and meet regularly with the European PSLOs.
- 161 PSLOs have now been appointed in 108 countries worldwide: 56 in Western, Eastern
Europe and Central Asia, 46 in Africa and Middle East, 35 in North and South America and
24 in South and East Asia, all listed in a Directory posted on the PSLO website (www.worldbank.org/business-global).
- 69 PSLO host organizations are chambers of commerce and industry, 48 are export or investment promotion agencies and 43 are business associations; Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) have been formally signed with only 35 PSLO host organizations when we successfully work without any formal agreement with all the others.
- From 1999 to 2004 the PSLO program was limited to Europe; Canada officially joined as
the first non-European PSLO country on November 19th 2004 and the Network was subsequently expanded worldwide.
- Out of 160 PSLOs, 85 are in borrowing countries; South Africa was the first developing
country to join the network in 2004; the most active PSLOs are in OECD countries where
the business organizations are the strongest and 80% of the business outreach events organized.
- Up to 150 events are organized by the PSLOs and their business organizations on a yearly
basis, the IFIs providing speakers and knowledge, the PSLOs the audience and taking care
of all the logistic and practicalities; all PSLO organized events with WBG participation are
registered in a date base and the most meaningful ones showcased in our PSLO Tribune, a
publication listing once a year the best practices of the Network.
- On average, PSLOs dedicate 60% of their time to World Bank Group Matters, of which 65%
on procurement issues, 20% on IFC and 15% on MIGA. PSLOs do not receive any financing
from the World Bank Group; they cover the costs of all the events they organize; the rest of
their time, 40%, is dedicated to other IFIS, including the EU.
- The first PSLO retreat was held in Paris in January 2000; 20 retreats have since been held
in Lisbon, Washington (several times), Sarajevo, Paris (several times), Moscow, Warsaw,
Johannesburg, Maputo, Singapore, Bled, Cairo, Sana’a and Istanbul with an average participation of 35 PSLOs per retreat.
- The global PSLO program has been managed since 1999 by the World Bank European
office in Paris. It is a World Bank Group program (WB, IFC, MIGA) with an estimate of $10
raised from the private sector for business outreach activities for $1 invested by the World
- Started as a WBG PSLO network, the network since 2006 and IADB joining in, is now an
IFI business outreach platform also shared by ADB, AFDB and EBRD but managed by the