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Japan and AfDB commit USD 1 Million Technical Assistance Grant for SME Capacity Building in Africa


Sunday, Istanbul, 5 October 2009 - Japan and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have committed a grant of USD 1,000,000 to the African Training and Management Services Project (ATMS) from the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA). In a ceremony organized on the side of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Istanbul, a grant agreement was signed today by AfDB Private Sector Operations Director, Mr. Tim Turner and ATMS Chairman Mr. J. Berteling.

The technical assistance contribution from FAPA will be used to sponsor Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa through capacity building services to grow and succeed, and to create employment opportunities. Specifically, FAPA funds will be applied through the ATMS Foundation to provide interim-management / placement services and in-situ training to SMEs to address management skills shortcomings. These services are provided by AMSCO (African Management Services Company), the executing agent of the ATMS project, which carries out the operational part of the ATMS project.

The ATMS project is an ongoing unique collaboration between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), each with a specific role in the project. The ATMS Project is structured as a UNDP Regional Project, while the IFC acts as the Executing Agency and AfDB as the Regional Cooperating Agency, supported by the African governments. The project consists of two interrelated components: AMSCO BV and the ATMS Foundation.

IFC has delegated its executing agent role to the African Management Services Company B.V. (“AMSCO”), which provides management support to companies by seconding expatriate managers to key senior positions within these companies, and by building the capacity of the companies through training activities. AMSCO is currently active in around 27 countries in Africa. AMSCO is a not-for-profit company that maintains itself through market based pricing of its services. Only SMEs that meet specific criteria can obtain a partial subsidy for the placement and training services from the ATMS project.

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) is a component of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance Initiative (EPSA), a billion-dollar joint initiative of Japan and the AfDB to promote private sector development in Africa. The FAPA trust fund provides untied grants for studies, technical assistance and capacity building for private sector projects and African institutions such as ATMS and AMSCO. Since FAPA's creation in 2006, Japan has contributed USD 30 million while the AfDB has contributed USD 10 million. To date, FAPA has committed some USD 21 million to support 26 ongoing projects across the African continent.

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