In an effort to ensure the continuation of the supervision and support of its target audience, the Ministry of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts has signed a partnership agreement with CUSO International. The signing of the partnership agreement that took place on the 26th of April 2022 at the N° 1 Ministerial building in the presence of Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III, the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon and the Country representative of CUSO International has the objective to support the development of companies producing goods and services owned by women and youths in the crafts and social economy sectors as well as very small businesses. Another goal of the convention is to support business owners in migrating from the informal to the formal sector; to support the development of innovative business models with high economic potentials and the reinforcement of platforms that promote entrepreneurship as a means of local economic development.

According to this agreement, the areas of intervention  consist of the dissemination of the corporate culture; technical assistance in particular through the organization of training sessions and capacity building for MINPMEESA staff, SMEs, Social Economy Units and craftsmen; the development of innovations in the fields of SMEs, Social economy and Handicrafts; the search for funding for the implementation of joint projects; the promotion of business relations between Cameroonian companies and Cuso partners in connecting Canadian and Cameroonian organizations in areas of common interest.

Speaking during the event, Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III reiterated the main objectives of the MINPMEESA which is not limited to the promotion of the private sector but also extends to the development of entrepreneurship skills as well as reaching out to partners that can assist MINPMEESA in disseminating the entrepreneurial culture. Bringing forth other reasons for signing this partnership agreement, Minister Achille BASSILEKIN III mentioned that MINPMEESA was motivated by CUSO’s achievements throughout several decades and particularly the actions that they are already carrying out in Cameroon, thus making it necessary for the organisation to be on board. He further reassured CUSO International that an enabling environment will be created to ensure that the results attained through this agreement are in line with MINPMEESA’s objectives.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon Mr. Richard BALE on his part, assured MINPMEESA to be confident of a stable base of support with respect to this agreement given that CUSO International is financed by the Canadian government for a period of 8 years since 2020. He also remained enthusiastic about the high prospects of the future outcome of this partnership. The country representative of CUSO International Mr. Francois AWOUNKEU made it known that through the partnership, CUSO will bring forth organisational profiles to support newly created SMEs and technical know-how through its volunteer programs to support the development of labour skills and to ensure that Cameroonian enterprises have a long life span. Furthermore, training and new approaches on how SMEs can develop their products will also be a main focus of CUSO as stated in this partnership. Mr. Francois AWOUNKEU further declared that the acceptance of MINPMEESA to sign this partnership with CUSO gives him the assurance that CUSO is already part of the Cameroonian ecosystem of SMEs and Handicrafts ensuring that CUSO will relentlessly support legally created SMEs.

According to the partnership, MINPMEESA has agreed amongst others, to put at the disposal of CUSO, the information and institutional facilities necessary for the implementation of its activities of the promotion and development of SMEs, social economy and handicrafts; to provide where possible, office space, an administrative management and other logistical support to international, national and online volunteers. On the other hand, CUSO has agreed to inform MINPMEESA of any activities it plans to carry out in Cameroon and which contributes to the promotion of entrepreneurship and private initiative, to the development of the social economy and the promotion of crafts. It is agreed amongst other things to provide international, national or online technical assistants in order to support MINPMEESA in the development of strategies, projects and plans that foster the development of entrepreneurship in Cameroon.

Worthy to recall that, CUSO International is a Canadian international development organization that was created in 1961. Present in 61 countries amongst which are 6 African countries, CUSO strives to end poverty and inequality by connecting communities around the world with highly skilled volunteers, collaborative partnerships and compassionate donors.

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