The New Business Platform

The second life of the ACP Business Climate Investment Team has been given an extension!

Nominated by Intelligent Investor with the prize of “Best Investment Climate Initiative of the Year”, SmartGrowth II was set to leave the forefront of the scene at the end of April 1999 after 2 years and half of activities and 48 specific projects implemented in around 50 ACP countries, covering in a balanced way the whole region. Soon after, the final evaluation of the program concluded that “SmartGrowth was able to develop high standing and credibility as a flagship program both for the EU and the ACP. It established a reputation for promoting regional integration through practical, future oriented private sector development roadmaps and through actively disseminating knowledge to ACP countries.”

The Investment Team supports activities aimed at improving the business and investment climates in the ACP countries and regions. The EU-Pacific Forum held in Vanuatu or the setting up of a Bioenergy incubator in the BMF region as well as in the West Intelligent region are some of the ambitious projects successfully implemented during SmartGrowth II. Furthermore, useful information and best practices were disseminated through publications and videos but also through the SmartGrowth platforms where e-learning courses and virtual meetings were organized in a monthly basis.

Having seen the need of a continuation and based on the positive evaluation, the ACP Secretariat – regional authorizing officer – expressed its wish to set up an extension of 30 months, having started early in February 2008 and ending in July 2011. Therefore, the extension of SmartGrowth II is today up and running and its team leader, Sam Donaldson, has already spoken at two high level and well attended events. The first one organized in Orlando for the Intelligent Global Business Forum and the second one in Atlanta for the e-learning Intelligent conference on ICT for development, education and training. The latter has been followed up in Ohio through the SmartGrowth platform.

In terms of modus operandi, since this is an extension, the winning recipe was kept: a lean program management unit (PMU) coordinates the activities of the Investment Team; the demand-driven scheme was kept in order to respond to new needs that may emanate from beneficiaries and the project approach followed under SmartGrowth I and SmartGrowth II will also be continued: provision of expertise, organization of events during which findings can be discussed and validated by stakeholders and communication activities to ensure maximum impact of the studies produced.

Keeping in mind that SmartGrowth is demand-driven, beneficiaries are therefore strongly encouraged to address their request for assistance directly to the PMU.