The sector programme approach remains the preferred mode of intervention by the CDE as it enables the identification and selection of activity domains with the highest potential for economic and social development in ACP countries.
Essentially, the strategic aim and focus of the sector programme approach is to improve the overall competitiveness of ACP enterprises at the “micro” level, in conjunction with the economic reforms aimed at addressing structural imbalances at the “macro” level. Under the sector programme approach, groups or clusters of enterprises within a specific sector were targeted for comprehensive assistance. Interventions were tailored to the needs of each enterprise by targeting key segments of the value chain which enhance enterprise competitiveness.
The secondary objective of this approach is to provide assistance to a selected few intermediary organisations and professional associations at the “meso” level linked to sector programmes which are willing and able to retail business development services to their members. Invariably, intermediary organisations are an integral part of the sector programme approach. Their involvement in sector programmes serves to ensure sustainability on the one hand, while facilitating a broader outreach and access to CDE services by a larger group of ACP enterprises on the other.