Africa Business development Network



Strengthening of capacities of private sector agencies and NGOs in selected African countries through regional networking and ECDC/TCDC supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurship (WED/YED)


uring previous assistance programmes in Malawi, Kenya, Eritrea, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, UNIDO has developed partnerships with public and private sector agencies and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) to advance Women and Youth Entrepreneurship Development (WED/YED). Based on requests from the aforementioned countries, UNIDO is now taking these partnerships steps further to improve their networks and their Business Development Services (BDS) support to women and young entrepreneurs, notably in agri-businesses.

In 2007, the Thirty-First Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the G-77 supported UNIDO to provide such assistance through a regional project for South-South cooperation and networking in Southern and Eastern Africa with a focus on agri-businesses. The project is co-funded by the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF) and UNIDO1.

The project rationale is based upon the notion that BSOs would benefit greatly from building regional and national networks to sustain a market orientation, manage supply capacity to facilitate growth, and develop competitive thinking in agri-businesses, a sector which is highly relevant to Southern and Eastern African economies. Support services to women and young entrepreneurs for becoming more competitive in micro and small-scale businesses are currently insufficiently covered by BSOs operating in the region. A strategy is needed to mainstream BSO services targeting young and women entrepreneurs.

Project Objective and Strategy

The project is to contribute to poverty reduction, through private sector development (PSD) at the national level, promoting productive activities, building networks (regional/national) and market linkages, ultimately creating sustainable job opportunities through strengthening the base of WED/YED programmes.

Intended outputs:

  • A regional network alliance of BSOs initiated and functioning to support WED/YED in the five countries.
  • Capacities of BSOs strengthened, using ECDC/TCDC approaches to support WED/YED at the national level.
  • Awareness created and information shared on agri-business sectors and existing credit options relevant to the participating countries.

As a strategy, the project is to strengthen capacities of BSOs and build cohesion among African countries, through regional and national networking of entities and through the application of ECDC/TCDC approaches for setting up effective BDS and essential training and coaching programmes promoting competitive agri-businesses. In particular, mainstreaming of WED/YED within BSO services will be promoted.

The project stimulates the partners to network internationally and nationally to make effective use of resources and opportunities that are available within the region and on the national level. Using a TCDC approach, with Tanzania as a lead partner, the 1 PGTF is a fund established by the Group of 77 (G-77) for the purpose of supporting activities in economic and technical cooperation among developing countries (ECDC/TCDC) of critical importance to member countries of the G-77, in order to achieve national or collective self-reliance, according to the priorities set by them.

The project provides participants with technical training and coaching programmes, mutually agreed upon and within the scope of project funding.

Through the experiences and processes set in motion at the regional level (by using the ECDC/TCDC approach), the project is assisting the participating countries to initiate and sustain their own activities related to BDS, technology diffusion and networking among support groups at the national level. UNIDO's tools, methodologies and approaches are being applied to initiate and reinforce national level programmes. Collaboration with UN and other international agencies will be encouraged to widen the knowledge base needed.

This first regional meeting is part of a series of four regional capacity building and exchange seminars to be conducted. In addition to the meetings and seminars, the orientation of the network will be essentially web-based.

Through the initiated public-private sector partnerships for WED/YED, a common approach is being developed for:

  • Entrepreneurship development and stimulating an entrepreneurial culture within organizations.
  • Team- and trust building for achieving common goals for networking.
  • Management development issues: reporting and proposal writing, keeping records and data, and the Results-Based Management (RBM) approach.
  • Addressing constraints of agri-business sectors, and accessing essential resources for increased competitiveness.
  • A sustainable and market-driven BDS system.

First Regional Seminar

The three-day meeting was held from 17-19 June 2008 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, organized and conducted in collaboration with the host country agency Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO). The purpose of the meeting was to officially launch the project and bring together project partners from each of the participating countries for exchange of ideas, building understanding and trust, and to set the stage for extensive cooperation.

The specific objectives of this meeting were as follows:

  • To review with the partners the project strategy and activities, and to familiarize them with UNIDO's entrepreneurship development approaches.
  • To establish a regional network of participating entities/institutions.
  • To develop a common goal and a shared vision.
  • To formulate and finalize a regional project work plan for 18 months and reach agreement on implementation priorities.
  • To prepare country level work plans for a duration of 6 months (December 2008) for follow up on commitments and planning of national level activities.

The following BSOs attended the meeting and are contributing to the regional network:


Participating Agencies


  • Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO), Dar es Salaam
  • Tanzania Women Chambers of Commerce (TWCC), Dar es Salaam
  • Umoja Wajasiriamali Zanzibar (UWAZI)/ZAFOPA, Zanzibar
  • Tanzania Gatsby Trust (TGT), Dar es Salaam2


  • Development of Malawian Enterprises Trust (DEMAT), Blantyre
  • National Association of Business Women (NABW), Blantyre


  • Eritrean National Chamber of Commerce (ENCC), Asmara


  • Willpower Incubation & Research, Nairobi
  • Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO), Nairobi


  • Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Harare
  • Zimbabwe Opportunities Industrialization Centers (ZOIC), Harare

Title Filter 

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Num Article Title
1 Kenya BDN
2 Tanzania BDN
3 Malawi BDN
4 Eritrea BDN
5 Zimbabwe BDN

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