West Africa:       A tour by the DECP management to look at the future West Africa:       A tour by the DECP management to look at the future

West Africa: A tour by the DECP management to look at the future

Jos van Erp Deputy Director View profile

In January this year Mr. Peter Bongaerts was appointed director of DECP. One of his objectives is to get to know all partner organisations, either through cross-cutting meetings or to pay a visit to their countries and offices. The West African region is considered to be a region with a high potential for employers’ organisations to develop sustainable impact on reinforcing the business climate. Therefore, a visit was planned the first week of November to Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Bénin and Togo together with the country manager for this region.

Although a one-day visit to each partner organisation might seem short and the schedule tight, a lot of fruitful meetings and discussions have taken place. After all, a courtesy meeting to get to know each other can be done in an hour. But programmes were much more charged than that. A workshop was conducted at the conference facilities of CNPB, the employers’ organisation of Burkina Faso, to share insight with members of the Board on the functioning of an employers’ organisation and the role of the Board members. Visits were payed to the Dutch government representatives in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Bénin. In these countries next steps on the development of social dialogue where discussed and agreements upon support from DECP were made. In Bénin, the DECP delegation even had a strategic meeting with the national council for social dialogue. A conference on social dialogue will be organised next year together with the Dutch Christian trade union CNV Internationaal. This agreement was confirmed in a press conference and broadcasted on national television. Running progammes in each of the countries were monitored and will be continued. Emphasize is on visibility, social dialogue, capacity building and skills development.

After this week of ‘getting to know our West African partners’ Mr. Peter Bongaerts concluded: ‘DECP is now active for almost 3 years in the sub-Saharan region. It is impressive to see how many activities have been started up and how this starts to pay off. We agreed to continue this fruitful cooperation and to even expand our joined activities. Besides that, I experienced warm welcomes and well prepared visit progammes. This allowed me to get the maximum out of the visit. I am convinced that -although the region has to deal with quite some major challenges- West Africa has the potential to push the economies of the region forwards. DECP likes to contribute to that!’

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Withnesses of an intensive and fruitful visit to the subsaharan region. Top left: workshop on the functioning of employers' organisations and the role of the Board with Board members of CNPB (Conseil National du Patronat Burkinabè), Burkina Faso. Top right: working session with the staff of the Ivorian employers' organisation CGECI (Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d'Ivoire) defining next steps of cooperation. Bottom left: visit to the Dutch ambassador, Mrs.Tjoelker-Kleve in Cotonou, Bénin with the management and Board members of the CNPB (Conseil National du Patronat du Bénin). Bottom right: working out a strategic competence development policy for the staff of the Togolese employers' organisation CNP-Togo (Conseil National du Patronat du Togo).