PACCI took center stage at EU-African SME summit in Brussels


The first EU-African Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit was held in Belgium Brussels on March 20 and 21. The summit focused on Shared Value Business Lab and the role of SMEs in EU-African International Cooperation. The summit aims to generate creative business ideas addressing development challenges.
Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) insisted that African governments should do much more to encourage the growth of SMEs, thus enabling them to contribute to the national economy. There is quite a large gap, he stressed, between the intentions of most of African governments and their understanding of the needs and challenges SMEs face. At a this week’s EU-African Summit, PACCI and African business executives from Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and others agreed there is quite a lot that governments can do to support SMEs.
CEOs of European SMEs noted the financial challenges most felt when establishing and developing SMEs in Africa and said there are numerous ways to support SMEs, including providing collateral, creating and supporting specific loans to SMEs or grants to those that achieve certain goals, like improving productivity or hiring additional personnel. The high-level international summit explored the space of business-based cooperation and networking between the SMEs of the two continents, with the goal of tackling local challenges in African countries.
At the summit speakers, including, Jyrki Katainen Vice-President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude TchatchouangExecutive Director of the World Bank Group, Mario Ohoven, President of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, and Youssouf Dawaleh, President of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) stressed the importance of small businesses in Africa as drivers of growth, developers new markets and creators of jobs.
The summit focus on a promising new player in international economic cooperation for development: the Small and medium-sized companies in Africa and Europe.