The ending of Southern Africa partnerships open up for promising new beginnings!

Chamber Trade Sweden’s partnerships with Cape Chamber of Commerce, Botswana´s Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower and Namibia Employers’ Federation with underlying women’s economic empowerment partnerships between LANN Development, Mhani Gingi South Africa, Women in Business Association Botswana (WIBA) and Women’s Action for Development Namibia (WAD) have now come to an end as the Swedish government phased out its development cooperation with these countries. We would however like to see this end as a new beginning going forward with new types of cooperation between us as partners.  The results of the partnerships have given increased value for both for private sector development and women’s economic empowerment. As part of the final run we had several trade promotion activities engaging Swedish companies in a business delegation to South Africa and Botswana in the areas of ICT, green technology and agribusiness. The final activity with the Cape Chamber of Commerce on promoting Arbitration and Mediation in Africa saw many high level international guests and speakers including Mr Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe, minister of Justice in South Africa, Ms Dr Patricia Shaughnessy, supervisor at the Stockholm University and vice chairperson of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and Mr Ulf Franke, honorary secretary general and chairperson of SCC, as well as representatives from Accord, law firms and large and small companies.

Here are some highlights from the partnerships in Southern Africa:

Bronwen Kausch, CEO of Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

Arbitration is key to enabling international trade and investment and building capacity for the private sector in developing countries. For the Cape Chamber of Commerce it was a great opportunity and an important strategic step for our newly launched arbitration and mediation institute to host such a successful international conference, ADR and arbitration in Africa – The Summer of Opportunity, together with CTS.  More than 100 experts, activists and professional gathered in Cape Town in November 2013 to discuss the business and policy challenges and opportunities of ADR in Africa.  The conference put both the Cape Chamber and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) on the map for Africa.

Maria Machailo-Ellis, CEO of BOCCIM, Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower

The head of BOCCIM has always been engaged in Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) issues and was previously the head of WIBA. When she was asked to be a key speaker at the 20th jubilee conference “Women changing the world” November 14-15th in St Petersburg, Russia it was a true boost to both BOCCIM and WIBA and also an important addition in diversity to an otherwise very Russian and European crowd of women. Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland, Roza Otunbaeva – former President of Kirgizstan and Veronika de Klerk (WAD), were amongst the prominent speakers.

Maria Machailo-Ellis, Veronika de Klerk and Elena Kalinina, who is an author and the rector of St. Petersburg Social-Economic Institute, that organised the conference in Russia all met through the LANN Consulting network.

CTS and BOCCIM organized a round table meeting end November in Botswana with representatives from business and the government to discuss the Challenges for Industrial Development for Botswana. The Round Table meeting stirred up a lively debate.

Tim Parkhouse, Tim Parkhouse, CEO of Namibian Employers’ Federation:

The first gathering of the partners in Stockholm, Sweden in 2012 was an important highlight laying the foundation for the cooperation to come enabling and a closer cooperation with the Cape and Botswana Chambers in areas like ADR, web based member services, labour law and public procurement. Adding value to member companies and advocating for a better business climate are joint concerns which unite chambers and employers’ organisations.

Charlotte Kalin, CEO of Chamber Trade Sweden:

Swedish small businesses are not easy to mobilize for more risky emerging markets.  It was therefore a great achievement to get a Swedish SME business delegation of 16 companies to attend the Nordic Southern Africa Trade Promotion Summit where 180 companies from Southern Africa and the Nordic countries gathered in Cape Town.  A total of 50 companies, of which 11 from Sweden continued to Gaborone, Botswana a few days later. It was magic to see the Swedish companies network and initiate business deals with companies from South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. As a direct result the Swedish companies made 115 new business contacts during the conference and these have led to 40 ongoing contacts and 10 ongoing business deals. ”

The four partners promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, Tumi Mbaakanyi from Women in Business Association, Veronika de Klerk from Women’s Action for Development, Lillian Masebenza from Mhani Gingi and Carin Lann from LANN Development in Sweden have many highlights to share from the numerous business development and mentorship workshops and trainings held to empower women entrepreneurs.  All had the opportunity to pinpoint women’s health issues when LANN organised a joint health seminar in Cape Town for the partners in cooperation with Karolinska Institute and the Swedish NGO 1, 6 Million Club in February 2013.  As a grand finale of the Partner Driven Cooperations, the partners united a last time in March this year in Cape Town, taking part in Chamber Trade Sweden’s annual international networking meeting on WEE and the Women’s Innovation and Trade Fair arranged by Mhani Gingi at the same time.  The close cooperation and relationships will remain and there are new beginnings to look forward to.