Vienna, 17 October 2007 Press release

Winkler/Matznetter: "Closing the gap between development cooperation and commercial business"


Council of Ministers adopts the establishment of an Austrian Development Bank

Vienna, 17 October 2007 - "The fight against poverty, the primary objective of Austrian development cooperation, can only be successful if the numerous efforts go hand in hand with the creation of the necessary economic foundations. The link between business and development is a crucial factor for the success of various Austrian development cooperation programmes", said State Secretary Hans Winkler and State Secretary Christoph Matznetter today in connection with the decision of the Council of Ministers to establish a development bank.

"The Austrian development bank has a clear development mandate. It will constitute an additional element in a wide range of various development policy instruments. The objective is to make an additional contribution to sustainable economic growth, to the creation of employment, to the transfer of know-how and thus to poverty reduction by funding investment", stressed Winkler.

"We want to use this instrument to close the gap between traditional development cooperation and the so far primarily commercial focus of corporate business, thus creating a bridge to small and medium enterprises. Interest and demand for the expertise of Austrian and European companies are on the rise in developing countries. The objective of the development bank is to facilitate access to previously often excluded and difficult markets such as those of the least developed countries", explained State Secretary Matznetter. He pointed out that Austrian companies are very successful in global competition, and that the development bank will now create a professional interface between traditional development aid and commercial business.

The structure of the development bank provides for a body called "Business and Development", which will examine the proposed projects from a development policy perspective and recommend them for funding. "This will ensure the preservation of the development policy component and protect the balance to foreign economic policy". The Austrian Development Bank will be established as a subsidiary of the Österreichische Kontrollbank, and will promote investments in developing countries, especially through equity interest and long-term funding.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Mrs. Katharina Swoboda
Cabinet of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469

Federal Ministry of Finance
Mrs. Dagmar Strobel
Press Officer of State Secretary Matznetter
Tel: 01-514 33 - 500054