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IFC Moderates a Roundtable on Local SME Development and Policy Support in Algeria


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone:  +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org

In Algiers:

Insaf Khelladi

Phone: + 213 (21) 54 8010

Fax:     +213 (21)  54 9582

Email:
rmkarroubi@ifc.org


ALGIERS/WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group,  and SEQUA, the Corporation’s gIFC’s lobal capacity building partner, recently moderated a one-day workshop in Algiers. The workshop centered on helping the Conseil National Consultatif (CNC) identify the steps to strengthen Algerian business membership organizations.

The Conseil National Consultatif is a fledgling public-private initiative run as business membership organization, which acts as a consultative council for more than 90 local business associations, employers confederations, and professional syndicates. The key goal of the body is to ensure a continuous dialogue among local stakeholders (public authorities, representatives of small and medium businesses, and civil society organizations) on small and medium enterprises issues, policy reforms, and development programs.


The workshop showcased international best practices and models on bolstering business membership organizations to 13 board members of the Conseil National Consultatif, which presaged their development of a strategy at the workshop to support Algerian small businesses by reinforcing business membership organizations.


Creating a business enabling environment for small and medium enterprises is best tacked by strong local business representatives with capacity to act as advocates for policy reform, and partner with selected government agencies.


Small and medium businesses in Algeria will also face the challenge of greater competition in the local market when the country’s trade barriers are steadily dismantled in line with the EU association agreement and WTO requirements agreements; business membership organizations can also play a key role in channeling much needed information, formal training and consulting services to help small businesses prepare for these challenges.


The president of CNC remarked, “The CNC has to define a policy to support SMEs through business membership organizations. The latter need to be supported to advocate their members’ interest and develop innovative, value-adding services. Positioning ourselves as a key player in the business enabling environment and supporting the concerns of  business membership organizations and their client SMEs is a daunting task. But this workshop showcases relevant approaches that will help us make the right choices.”


Jesper Kjaer, General Manager of PEP ME and NAED Programs, added, “IFC’s main aim of this workshop was to help the Board Members of CNC reach a consensus on building the advocacy and managerial capabilities of business membership organizations, and assisting them in prioritizing key advocacy issues.”


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.