From July 4 to 8 -2011, DECP, ILO/ITC and ProInvest organised a workshop in Dakar with a twofold objective: contributing to a revitalisation of the Federation of West African Employers’ Associations (FWAEA) and strengthen its members by providing training on a number of core issues. The workshop was attended by some 20 representatives from 16 West African employers’ organisations. Bram Van Overbeeke attended on behalf of DECP.
Regarding the FWAEA there was a unanimous wish to see its role enhanced and to have it recognised as the official representative of the private sector vis-à-vis the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). A new Chairman and newly appointed Executive Secretary have committed themselves to work towards that goal and also towards greater regional economic integration, an improved business climate and a coordinated energy policy. They will make a survey of members’ needs and appealed to members to gradually develop a data base in order to exchange relevant information.
Jeanne Schmitt (ITC/ILO) and Pape Beye (ILO/Dakar) had prepared a variety of training sessions and using the SMART and SWOT methodology as well as practical exercises they dealt with the development of a strategic plan, with the diversification of sources of income, the design and implementation of projects, lobbying and advocacy as well as the development of services. They had also invited a few outside speakers, such as Mr. John Mufukare of the Zimbabwe employers who gave an interesting overview of the activities of the SADC Employers Group (SEG), as an example of a sub-regional employers’ organisation.
Another session was devoted to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) introduced by Mr. Philippe Barry, who explained how CSR could be turned into a competitive advantage and as such be part of the services an employers’ organisation can offer to its members.