It is CDE’s thirtieth birthday but it has probably not yet reached full maturity. On the other hand it is certainly a stage at which it is reasonable to ask some basic questions about oneself and one’s future prospects. What can we do and do well, how has the environment changed, how can we position ourselves so as to serve the ACP private sector even better and more effectively within the framework of the unique cooperation between Europe and the ACP regions? Could not a renewed CDE be at the heart of the EU instruments for the support of the ACP private sector? A CDE, whose operational relevance will facilitate close ties between the European partners and ACP regions so as to produce growth, employment and prosperity?
The Board of CDE, which I have been honoured to chair for a year, with the support, the dynamism and competence of the management team has had the following focus during 2006 which will continue into 2007: to give CDE a new vision, a new public image, and for it to become more efficient so that there will be increased resources for development of enterprises and cooperation between the ACP and EU private sectors.
Whilst determinedly continuing with the reforms already begun (transparency, efficiency balance between resources and objectives, decentralisation) we have taken stock, analysed the environment and made plans for the future:
• CDE certainly has some strengths: a unique savoir faire, a team of individuals confident in the solid basis for their work on the development of the private sector in the ACP regions and in the values for sustainable development;
• looking to the future, the ACP countries’ world has changed and now the region makes a significant contribution to world growth, with its own growth rate above the world average. The world has become more competitive and is becoming more demanding, including in the area of development cooperation. Our principal sponsoring bodies, the European Commission and member states, rightly require more from CDE. The EU, like many other multilateral players in the field of development cooperation, is decentralising its operations. The needs of businesses, our partners and private sector representatives become important factors as the business climate plays a key role in influencing our actions;
• the proposal that we have made, now under consideration, is based on these facts and on the reality on the ground, free of all political influence. Our wish is more than ever to be efficient, centred on tangible and measurable results, operating where others have poor results.
We have a team willing and able to carry out these tasks. We now need support and decisions from our sponsoring bodies to carry out these reforms, essential under the tenth EDF.
In this anniversary year we wish that the Centre, its management, its staff and its network should know that they can count on the confidence and unfailing support of their Executive Board of Directors.