Interview of Sid Boubekeur, Head of CDE regional office in Southern Africa

Posted on: June 08, 2015

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What is the Private Sector Development Programme?

PSDP is an initiative of the Government of Botswana, represented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), in partnership with the European Union (EU). The Programme is supported by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise and the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM).

The goals of the Programme are to strengthen the value chain of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises  (SMMEs) and community based organisations (CBOs); promote SMME participation in procurement; enhance the service delivery of Intermediary Organisations (IOs); improve access to financing for SMMEs and empower women entrepreneurs.

Besides BOCCIM, the other key partners involved in the PSDP are Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Botswana Exporters and Manufactures Association (BEMA), Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC), Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH).  Furthermore, the programme partnered with Financial Institutions such as CEDA, National Development Bank (NDB) and Standard Chartered Bank to support a Public-Private Dialogue meeting on Botswana’s beef value chain.

The programme has to date, selected 100 SMMEs including CBOs to be empowered on how to efficiently run their businesses. As a start-up, the programme trained local IOs such as BNPC, CEDA, BOCCIM, BITC, LEA, BIH, and local consultancy firms on diagnosis of SMMEs using the CDE audit tools. Furthermore, the respective IOs were involved in conducting audits of the selected 100 companies. The audits have identified gaps and challenges faced by these SMMEs. These will be addressed by key interventions such as individual coaching and sector specific mentorship.

What is new in the second phase of the PSDP, which started in Feb 2015?

The programme started implementation (second phase) in February 2015 by fully taking into consideration the results of the SMME diagnostic reviews. With a strong need for basic business fundamentals, SMMEs participated in workshops addressing general business management, finance, accounting, value of business planning and environmental awareness.  The SMMEs will then be further assisted through hands on mentoring by management experts for a period of six to nine months.  Specific coaching of SMMEs will target a range of advanced business aspects including marketing and sales distribution strategy, management tools, human resources, productivity and environmental awareness. 

To effectively implement the individual coaching , PSDP is working in partnerships with the Tokafala Programme established by the Government of Botswana, Anglo American, De Beers and Debswana, Managers Without Borders (MWB) and  Senior Expert Services (SES) from Germany to ensure maximum impact for the SMMEs. 

Under this partnership, SES will be providing technical assistance through its network of experienced experts and engineers. This will be achieved through a participatory approach in which each company receives the assistance of a technical specialist relevant to their sector of operation. Improvements have already been seen with textile companies, with some enterprises adopting new plans and improving their production processes towards best practices in the sector.

In order to complement the work done by SES, Managers without Borders (MWB) is working in close collaboration with the managers of SMMEs in improving areas of costing, financial management, accounting, bookkeeping and strategic planning. The MWB experts will be working hand in hand with their technical counterparts from SES, such that the client is assisted to improve on their technical and financial operations towards a more efficient and profitable enterprise.

Botswana service providers and intermediary organisations will be engaged in the last phase of the programme, focusing on the follow-up and the monitoring of the above- mentioned capacity building actions for SMMEs.

What are the synergies between the PSDP and the TBT programme?

PSDP partnership with BOBS on the EU-ACP Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme will strengthen the Quality Infrastructure (QI) institutions in Botswana and support economic operators/exporters to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements.  Over and above the TBT Programme, support will also be given to BOBS on the development of a National Quality Policy; upgrade the existing capacities of the Botswana Bureau of Standards as national lead actor in the field of QI and as service provider for exporters and private sector operators; and, enhance the capacities of service providers to be able to assist the SMEs in the process of certification.

The PSDP will furnish the TBT Programme with 20 SMMEs and 10 service providers for a 4-week workshop covering:

•     ISO 9001, Global Gap, HACCP, ISO 22000, ISO 14001

•      Good manufacturing practices, good agricultural practices,

•      Coaching and practical exercises with selected companies

Have you seen any results so far and if not yet what are the expectations?

As the collaboration is still on going, it might be too early to highlight any final results. However, some intermediated achievements can be mentioned especially in regards to the development of the National Quality Policy.

The development of the National Quality Policy started in April this year during which the policy environment was identified, the current NQI legislation was evaluated and a vast amount of information on the NQI and technical regulation regime was obtained from visits to more than twenty stakeholder organizations in the public and private sectors including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministries of Health and Agriculture and BOBS.

A first working draft of the National Quality Policy (NQP) was developed based on international good practice and information obtained during the situation analysis. This first draft already highlights a number of areas requiring preliminary policy decisions, which hopefully will be taken soon and then support the completion of the National Quality Policy.

As far at the support to SMEs is concerned, where the PSDP has an active role, the coaching will start soon. It is expected that the trainees will follow at least one practical case of company support carried out by the key expert and then will be responsible for the support to be provided to the remaining selected companies. 

TBT Programme, Avenue de Tervuren 32, box 31 - 1040 Brussels - Belgium - Tel: +32-2 739 00 00 - Fax: +32-2 739 00 09 - e-mail: contact@acp-eu-tbt.org - www.acp-eu-tbt.org