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"Countdown on global partnership for development"
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"Countdown on global partnership for development"

Carole Nyemeck picAs the UN reviews its 2015 Millennium Development Goals, Carole Nyemeck, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Yaounde in Cameroon, describes the success of a program to train and support entrepreneurs for Cameroon’s small and medium sized businesses.

Here we finally are, in 2015! When the United Nations launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) back in 2000, who could have guessed how fast the time would fly?

With everything that is coming to an end, there is also the need to take stock and improve on what is already being done. Hence, the “global partnership for development” is the eighth and last development goal set by the UN for the matter, and one on which Cameroon’s implementation of EMPRETEC programme promptly testifies.

EMPRETEC is a programme sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to boost the creation of sustainable, innovative, and internationally competitive Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The name EMPRETEC comes from the Spanish acronym for emprendedores (entrepreneurs) and tecnología (technology), and according to Wikipedia was first used in Argentina in 1988. Being the blueprint of a Harvard scientific method for a behavioural approach to entrepreneurship designed by David McClelland, it has already been initiated in 36 countries, supporting more than 300,000 entrepreneurs through local market driven EMPRETEC/business support centres. The core of the training is based on McClelland’s finding about human beings’ inner urge to better themselves. The discovery helped build training workshops highlighting three main components: achievement, affiliation, and power. (http://www.unctadxi.org/templates/Startpage____7428.aspx)

Being aware of the high potential of EMPRETEC to advance economic development, the Cameroonian Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft (MSMESEH) sent its official request to UNCTAD. A favorable response came out in Geneva, in May 2014. Following the agreement, our ministry, which is totally aware that 94 per cent of the national population is involved in SMEs (either as employers or workers), initiated the creation of a government agency for the promotion of SMEs, along with a bank for SMEs.

Afterwards, with a polished business environment in place, an initial five-day practical phase of implementation began on January 05th, 2015, at the Technipole Sup-Valor of the National Advanced School of Engineering (NASE) of Yaoundé, with 36 Cameroonian SME owners trained. During the official launch ceremony held at the end of the week the programme’s coordinator emphasized that generally, “for participants with business ideas at the beginning, there is a 60 per cent probability of ending the training to effectively create their venture”. He attributed that record to the fact that participants are required to create businesses and start-ups during the training, and to market and sell the related outputs.

With already 19 EMPRETEC centres in the Anglophone sphere of Africa, Cameroon is now proudly the second participant from Francophone Africa. To stand firm on our feet in the face of such a huge gap to bridge, the MSMESEH highlighted the need for EMPRETEC Cameroon to generate “intrapreneurs”; a concept that means “managers with entrepreneurial attitudes”. That definition extends to not only owners of SMEs or people willing to do so, but also managers from public and private sectors; thus recreating the whole economics of general management and, hopefully, paving the way for the gradual consolidation of a real “made-in Cameroon” over the world. The Minister and the UN representatives all agreed that those expectations are in line with the national ‘Document de Stratégies pour la Croissance et l’Emploi’ (DSCE), which predicted the country’s 2035 emergence to be attained by the rise, competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of SMEs.

As 2015 has ushered us into the countdown for the fulfillment of the MDGs, we can already count on the 1000 participants (including the first round of 36), who are to be formed as certified trainers. We can also rejoice about our national EMPRETEC network which is insisting on agricultural and technology-oriented projects as a means to keep pace with the world. With a graph positively beginning like this, we can cross fingers that we won’t end up being the last in the global classroom. At least, when it comes to partnership for development! However, why not go further (as already done in some countries), with the use of EMPRETEC’s methodology to elaborate on technological entrepreneurship and innovation-based curricula for primary and secondary schools in Cameroon?

photo:  FlashBuddy

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About me: I am a student studying in Yaoundé, the political capital of the country. I am also a member of Cameroonian Student Achievers Club at the Yaoundé US Embassy, and wish to further my education in the United States.

I have always loved the media universe and its components of radio, television, newspapers and internet. However, my first professional encounter with this world came recently, when I began volunteering at Radio Maria Yaoundé.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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