For use of information media - Not an official record

Geneva, Switzerland, 6 December 1996

The UNCTAD secretariat is conducting two workshop-cum-study tours to promote African commodity sector diversification through entrepreneurship and enterprise networking between Africa and South East Asia. The study tours are organized in collaboration with the Governments of Indonesia and Thailand, with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta), the Presetiya Mulya Graduate School of Management (Jakarta), and with the Board of Trade of Thailand and the Federation of Thai Industries (Bangkok). They are taking place in Jakarta from 2-6 December and in Bangkok from 9-13 December.

Twenty-nine entrepreneurs, of which six are business women, from Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Republic of Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Uganda and Zambia are participating in the study tours.

They will share their practical experiences in commodity sector diversification and explore possible areas for African-Asian joint ventures in trade and trade-driven direct investment. Bringing together key players in the business sector should create the momentum needed to stimulate the horizontal and vertical diversification of the commodity sector in Africa through a partnership with South-East Asian entrepreneurs in the future.

The study tour programme in each country consists of two-day briefings by government and business representatives from the host countries. The focus will be on successful experiences in developing commodity-based industries and enterprises, as well as on policies to promote government-business dialogue and interaction, and entrepreneurship and enterprise development. The following three days are devoted to factory and field visits, and to one-on-one identification, and discussion, of commodity trade and investment areas of mutual interest.

As a follow-up to these study tours two subregional seminars will take place in Africa -- scheduled provisionally for Harare, Zimbabwe in 1997 and in Abidjan, Côte d´Ivoire in 1998. Business leaders from South East Asia will be invited as resource persons to these seminars, where the dialogue on cooperation between the private sector in Africa and South East Asia will be continued.

The project has been made possible through the financial support of the Government of Japan, as well as from the host countries and associated institutions.