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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
26 maart 2005

Dutch business urged to invest in developing countries

Improving the business climate in developing countries is number one priority for the Dutch development policy. The bottlenecks are since long identified: corruption, red tape, market failures, and lack of infrastructure, financial services and skills. On March 22, experts from the private and public sector gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague to come up with practical solutions. But obviously the issues at stake are hard to digest, since the expert meeting mainly resulted into plans to meet more often. The Confederation of Netherlands' Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) promised to organise additional workshops, say two every six months, on newly identified subjects, as its director Economic Affairs, Cees Oudshorn, announced. The Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, Agnes van Ardenne, was hardly impressed. "I am still waiting for VNO-NCW to start playing a more active role in supporting its sister employers' associations in developing countries, as they are essential for a good business climate," she critically commented in her closing remarks. With great vigour Ms. Van Ardenne is tempting Dutch entrepreneurs to venture into risky regions. She wants the Dutch private sector to create jobs, transfer knowledge and train local staff in developing countries, in order to get the engine of economic growth going. To this aim the Dutch government has created a myriad of facilities. The newest branch on the tree is the Netherlands Financial Sector Development Exchange (NFX). Through this public-private partnership the government, some leading commercial banks and the development bank FMO make financial expertise available to developing countries. The international expert meeting 'Mobilising your services for development' focused on topics in which Dutch companies have much expertise: logistics, property rights on land and buildings, financial services and trade facilitation. The crux is gaining efficiency, reducing time, speeding up entrepreneurship. Certainly there is much to gain if local governments, local and foreign companies and research institutes combine their energy in removing bottlenecks. Meanwhile the Minister for Development Cooperation is growing somewhat impatient. She welcomed the initiative of VNO-NCW to conduct new workshops in the future, but, she added, "at the same time, we should roll up our sleeves and get to work." P+ Webtip: Internationaal ondernemen
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