A well-functioning private sector equals job opportunities and economic development. But a “healthy” private sector is not something to take for granted, especially not in a developing country. Private companies, especially SME’s, in developing countries operate against all odds with numerous barriers both within their company operations and externally tied to the business climate. Part of CTS mission is to help local business organisations like chambers overcome these barriers to doing business.
A simple SWOT analysis from one of our Industrial Development workshops in Ethiopia and Zambia clearly shows the many challenges that exist on both a country and a company level: Weak linkage to the foreign market, lack of market information, limited access to finance, high interest rates, low level of R&D and innovation, poor linkage between university and industry, low level of utilized technology including green technology, lack of ICT investment and access to the internet, damaging regulations, taxation and custom duties, problems with sourcing, poor infrastructure for transportation, logistics and access to air cargo services, dependence on monopoly state owned companies, unethical or unfair requirements tied to government procurement, weakness in good governance leading to corruption, limited capacity for packaging and cold chain storage, limited knowledge on labelling, lack of spare parts, high cost of raw materials, power cuts, poor land allocation, unethical labor practices, malfunctioning labor markets, lack of skilled labor, poor management including financial management, low entrepreneurship skills, production stops and uneven flows, limited capacity and low quality in production, limited knowledge on environment and sustainability issues. The list goes on and could easily be made much longer.
In such a complex environment, it is a great challenge for local business organisations, like chambers of commerce, to develop services to serve not only their member companies but the greater business community. Often the development of business and advocacy go hand in hand. It is often a challenge to advocate and influence governments to improve the conditions for doing business.
Private sector capacity building in developing countries is not rocket science. It involves the same struggles as we have had in Sweden (as well as the rest of the Western world) and still have in the more developed world. The scenario is just much more complex in a developing country. In both worlds, the base for economic growth and trade is a healthy and diversified private sector. If you are interested in learning more about how we work to open up possibilities for companies, strengthen the private sector and contribute to economic development, please come to our annual meeting on May 19th,, with a focus on “Strengthening the private sector in developing countries”. Read more about our annual meeting
Charlotte Kalin, Chamber Trade Sweden