On Thursday the 16th of July 2015, following four days of intense negotiations, an Amendment to the jointly sponsored ACP-EU Convention for the creation and running of the CDE was signed between Cameroon and the Eurepean Union in Brussels, Belgium.
Cameroon was able to convince authorities of the European Union to take action in favour of the contunuity of her Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE)-initiated projects that will have direct and substantilal impact on her private sector. Deliberations between the two parties took off with a preliminary axis at the Brussels-based African Carribbean Pacific (ACP) headquarters. Those talks were followed the next day by a heated exchange with the
Director-Curator designate of the CDE, Mrs. Ilse Van de Mierop, at the CDE headquarters.
On that same Wedneday, the 15th, Cameroon's Chief negotiator, Special Envoy of Head of State, Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, Laurent Serges Etoundi Ngoa, accompanied by Ambassador Daniel Evina Abe'e and the Central African Regional Director for the CDE, Mr. Alliou Abdoulahi, amidst Cameroonian experts, had another fact-filled exchange with the Deputy Director for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO) at the EU, Mr. Markus Cornaro, who was flanked by his close collaborators. It turned out to be a highly fruitful and harmious outcome, a win-win for both parties.
While the Minister was sending the good news back home, DEVCO's head underlined the importance of a procedural agreement, saying it portrayed the health of relations between the EU and Cameroon, especially during a transitional period, when the CDE is shutting its doors.
The next day was the signing proper of the long-sought-for Amendment to the CDE convention. Having initially included the CDE-managed projects in its national budgetary allocations for the previous year, Cameroon was able to obtain an EU accord for the transfer of the unused funds to the institution that will henceforth carry out the ongoing CDE-sponsored projects of her fledgeling Small and Medium-Sized infrastructure.
The orderly closure of the CDE was jointly agreed to by the EU and the ACP in June 2014 in Nairobi. Thereafter, in January 2015, the Executive Board designated a Curator for the CDE. The idea to offer technical assistance and training for the benefit of local indepdently-run businesses originated 37 years ago. Within the framework of the Lome Convention, the Centre for the Development of Industry (CDI) was set in 1977 to support the ACP private sector.
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