JCI Africa Fosters Entrepreneurship in Africa

16/06/2006
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JCI Africa Fosters Entrepreneurship in Africa

The African Investment Advisory (AIA) in partnership with Junior Chamber International (JCI), with support from the UN Financing for Development Office (FFDO), on June 9 organized a workshop in Monastir, Tunisia, to examine barriers to business activities on the African continent.  Opened by Prof. Taieb Hadhri, Tunisian Minister of Scientific Research, Technology and Competency Department, the workshop sought to share best practices, identify gaps, and develop ideas and new initiatives to tackle the barriers to the growth of small and medium scale enterprises (SME).

The African Development Bank, represented by Mr Luciano Borin, Private Sector Development Director, and Ms Imen M’khinini, Industrial Strategist, participated in the several roundtable discussions.

Speaking to participants on "Enhancing SME access to finance" Mr Luciano Borin referred to the Bank’s initiatives in terms of equity at start (franchising), guarantees to local banks and technical assistance facilities provided to both banks and SMEs, and of  organisation (mutual guarantees). He also delivered a paper on the "Role of larger corporations in nurturing smaller companies" where he highlighted the importance of linkages between Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and smaller local companies which serve to meet the outsourcing and supply needs of the MNEs and the financing, market access and skills needs of the SMEs. He also cited Seed Money and Abidjan Club as successful experiences to make these linkages efficient and viable.

Ms. Imen M’khinini, for her part, did a presentation on the "Diaspora financing to strengthen entrepreneurship" where she underscored the innovative initiative of the Private Sector which aims at bringing remittance flows into the formal sector. She pointed to the importance of the pilot project in Cap Verde which includes financial support (guarantees to unique local bank) and technical assistance facilities working in SME sector to reinforce the entrepreneur’s technical capacity, including mentoring and skills enhancement.

The meeting also enabled participants to gain a better understanding of how to facilitate access for small and medium scale enterprises on the continent.