The CDE made a critical self-appraisal in 2005 and then introduced significant changes designed to make it more effective in responding to the tasks entrusted to it under the Cotonou
Agreement and the expectations placed in it by the ACP private sector.
Following a thorough, uncompromising review of our operations and their impact and detailed discussions with our supervisory authorities and newly reconstituted Executive Board, I was able to put in place a new strategy for the CDE and appropriate means for carrying it out.
A more targeted programme-based approach, with measurable effects, was adopted and put into practice by a reorganized team, supported by field offices for each ACP region; the European and ACP networks are being reshaped and professionalized, and more focused and effective partnerships are being formed with leading players in the development community.
Responding to needs expressed by our clients, we examined our procedures and completed the complex task of securing ISO 9001:2000 certification, becoming the only European cooperation institution to hold that qualification.
Relations between the CDE and Pro€invest were reassessed from top to bottom and our respective missions were redefined. The core activity for the CDE: strengthening assistance to enterprises, with the accent on the expertise specific to each sector where it operates; for Pro€invest, intensification of its various activities in support of intermediary organizations. The synergy developed between them has turned them into a more coherent, transparent and effective instrument of EU/ACP policy.
The staff of the CDE took part in the reform process, while continuing to dedicate their skills and time to their respective responsibilities. They improved their professionalism by undertaking the necessary training, and will continue to do so.
All of us were closely involved in these essential procedures, and there was a temporary drop in the levels of our commitments and disbursements as a result. This has been reversed in 2006, so much so that all our operational resources had been taken up by mid-year. We are also expecting appreciable improvements, both quantitative and qualitative, in our commitment,
management and performance ratios.
The CDE has adopted a new culture in which results are the primordial consideration. Its aim, the only justification for its existence, is to do useful work for its client enterprises. We must show by our actions – not words – that we deserve our place in the development community on merit.