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CIDR’s 2010-2014 Policy priorities

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Introduction 

CIDR developed its 2010-2014 Strategic Plan on the basis of the previous Plan’s evaluation, adopting an approach based on the four major steps in strategic planning :

- Sectoral analysis ;
- Positioning of the organization upon completion of the planning period ;
- Definition of strategic priorities ;
- Formulation of a five-year action plan.

The strategic planning process was complemented by :

- A Listening to Partners survey (June 2008) ;
- A scenario building seminar (July 2008) ;
- A seminar defining CIDR’s communication policy (September 2008).

CIDR’s 2010-2014 Strategic Plan aims to :

- Support the modernization of local economies and job creation
- Strengthen the social dimension of development
- Encourage coherent sectoral policies and sustainable development at the local level.

Support the modernization of local economies and job creation 

During the next five years, CIDR will develop activities that promote active participation in the modernization of local African economies, creating wealth and jobs. It will implement ambitious economic development programs at the local level ; it will finance rural and urban entrepreneurs through partner microfinance institutions ; it will also involve agricultural business development services platforms in efforts to modernize African economies.

Promote an entrepreneurial approach to rural economies

Economic globalization has taken on new forms with the race to acquire natural resources and agricultural products. The purchase of land in Africa to produce foodstuffs for emerging countries, at the expense of food security for the producing countries, is a real concern for policymakers and international actors, especially in light of the recent food crisis and its social consequences on the continent’s stability.

Given this context, CIDR believes agricultural and rural development requires entrepreneurial approaches that combine agricultural, food and environmental issues from the beginning. "New rural entrepreneurs" must integrate the various levels of agricultural value chains (production, processing, packaging, storage and marketing). Agricultural development must be based on strong linkages between rural producers, agri-food SMEs, and urban markets. Dynamic and entrepreneurial anglophone countries such as Tanzania and Ghana have already seen rapid growth of high potential value chains driven by private sector actors, effectively boosting markets and economic growth.

To do this, CIDR will promote contractual agreements, develop financing methodologies and encourage the use of innovative technologies, prioritizing (but not exclusively) pro-poor agricultural value chains that work for small farmers and aim at building equitable and long standing business relationships. It will also work with program partners to adapt agriculture to climatic change by encouraging a sustainable, integrated and decentralized approach to development and the management of land and water resources.

CIDR will promote and strengthen agricultural professional organizations. It will support them in their role as advocates of agricultural and rural policies, and their efforts to develop an entrepreneurial approach to commercial and market-oriented food crop production.

Encourage job creation in medium towns and in working-class neighborhoods of larger cities

One of the consequences of rapid-paced urbananization of medium-sized towns in Africa is national and sub-regional migration (temporary or permanent) and the return of migrants living abroad. This population is generally very young, more educated, and aspires to better living conditions and access to services. These migration flows have created a middle-class, often composed of two income households with modern consumption habits and lifestyles. This socio-demographic trend represents an important market opportunity for food crop production, manufactured goods and services. And, for the first time in decades in Africa, there is an effective domestic demand. There are real opportunities to develop micro, small and medium job-creating enterprises, in order to address this new urban demand.

CIDR will support the economic initiatives of these "new" entrepreneurs : members of the diaspora willing to reinvest in their country, young graduates in services and technologies, women entrepreneurs, apprentices and employees wanting to start their own businesses, etc. The goal is to help them develop their businesses and create jobs in view of substituting imported goods with local production as much as possible.

The situation is very different in the working-class neighborhoods of larger cities, where the underprivileged and poor often live. Young people, often school drop-outs, are without qualifications and jobless, even in the informal sector. Women work extremely long hours and assume the burden of thankless tasks, in order to ensure their families’ survival. They are generally heads of household or the sole breadwinners. It is essential to contribute to efforts to maintain a certain level of social stability, which implies equity and solidarity.

CIDR will develop activities that promote economic integration. It will help underprivileged youth find jobs with reintegration companies, services providers contracted by government administrations, and educational and health care establishments. It will seek out public, private and multinational firms offering training programs and jobs as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy.

Strengthen local governments’ role to support local economic development

Local governments play a critical role in the economic development of their community. They are responsible for increasing incomes, creating wealth and jobs for local populations but also developing efficient fiscal policies that enable their own growth.

Tensions rising from the different expectations and strategies of local economic actors (rural and urban enterprises, local authorities, business development services) point to the need for coordinated actions between different stakeholders (public and private) and at different levels (municipalities, inter-municipality, regions, central governments), if local economic development is to be effective.

As part of its efforts to support to local governments, CIDR will help create local or regional economic development agencies. These agencies will define local or regional development strategies, accompany and strengthen municipal services in charge of promoting local economic development, facilitate public-private consultation, manage local economic development funds, foster relationships with the banking sector and financial institutions, support entrepreneurs and promote the region.

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Publié le mercredi 15 septembre 2010, par CIDR

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