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CDE empowers private sectors hands-on

by Honorine Kaze

Centre for Development of Enterprise (CDE) is out to implement efficient approaches to counter the issue of competitiveness, access to funds and global markets; some of the challenges that are faced by the private sectors in southern African.
Those issues are not solely unique to Namibia or southern Africa, said the head of CDE regional office for southern Africa, Sid Boubekeur during his short visit in Namibia last week.
“Those three main issues are basically found in most countries in Africa, even in European countries, usually because of the economical uncertainties,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, Boubekeur acknowledged that southern Africa has more potential in terms of mining and agro-production, which need to be invested in more. Furthermore, CDE stated that there is also potential in the fishing and ICT sectors but that they are not fully taken advantage of. CDE recently launched the 2012-2015 strategic plan, which is meant to empower the capacity of private sectors to meet the markets as well as develop more programmes to support SMEs in the various sectors such as tourism and the agro-production industry.
To implement the strategy, CDE works in collaboration with the EU delegations, the Sadc secretariat, GIZ, the Commonwealth secretariat and Agence Francaise de Development (AFD)
The strategy plan will also focus on developing a strong and reliable support system between private sector development programs with government based agencies around the region.
In order to keep empowering the private sectors, CDE has started working on projects in the region such as the Energy Efficiency Management Programme (EEMP), aiming at assisting SMEs to achieve energy efficiency by implementing appropriate energy saving measures while improving their competitiveness through adoption of best practices in efficient energy management. It is expected to reduce the current energy consumption costs from 15 to 25% in the region.
The implementation of such programs would allow regional SMEs involved to cut down on their prices, hence opening them up to competitiveness on the market.
SMEs become competitive through prices, quality and delivery of products.
Furthermore, a competitiveness enhancement programme in the agro-industry was also launched earlier this year, which will involve seven to nine SMEs from the horticulture, meat processing, beverage and aquaculture sector aiming at strengthening entrepreneurial skills.
Having met SME managers, the main local stakeholders, the EU delegation, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the National Planning Commission (NPC), Boubekeur was impressed by the way professional organisations and SMEs are well structured in Namibia and found that MTI is working towards the development of the private sector while the NCCI supports the communication amongst private sector stakeholders. NPC, on the other hand, he said, expressed an interest in CDE methodology and actions for upgrading the local private sector.
“Progressive development of private sectors can only be achieved fully in case of an integrated economy approach, which would involve all stakeholders as part of the equation,” he emphasised.
He further stressed that the Walvis Bay Corridor holds a future for better trade amongst Namibia and Sadc countries and thus should be explored more, “Walvis Bay Corridor is one of the Namibian brands; it is one of the biggest futures for Namibia and Sadc. It is really focused on organisation integration and facilitates trade in the region by cutting logistic prices.” CDE recently selected BFS Nampro (the managing body of Namibia Procurement Fund - Nampro) as its representative in Namibia. BFS Nampro will help identify and select projects from Namibia’s private sector which could be assisted by CDE.
CDE is an African, Caribbean and Pacific/European Union joint institution created in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement with the objective of ensuring professional ACP enterprises operating in the private sector. The CDE regional head office for southern Africa based in Gaborone covers Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.