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From Poland to South Africa and from India to Guatemala, CDC Development Solutions has contributed to economic growth and stability in fifty countries on five continents, utilizing tools and resources that drive sustainable economic growth.
Eastern Europe and the Caucasus
CDC Development Solutions started work in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, and we have been engaged since the early 1990s in over 15 countries in the region. Our work has focused on the oil and gas supply chain, domestic and regional tourism industries, and post-conflict reconstruction through the strengthening of SMEs and the business service providers that support them. Click here for more information about our work in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus or contact Amanda MacArthur.
CDS in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus
CDC Development Solutions is currently active in Albania under the USAID-funded Competitive Enterprise Development (CED) program led by Chemonics. Under the program, a variety of interventions are designed to improve the competitiveness of Albanian SMEs on the European market, improve workforce capacity, and increase household incomes. CDS provides training and technical assistance in support of these program goals.
In Azerbaijan, CDC Development Solutions’ Economic and Enterprise Development Program (EEDP) provided training and technical assistance to small and medium sized enterprises, business service providers, and financial institutions to promote the long-term growth and sustainability of the SME sector. Within EEDP’s framework, a pilot version of the Supplier Training Initiative was launched to improve SME capacity to win contracts with the oil industry. In addition to EEDP, CDC Development Solutions conducted a strategic assessment for the Azerbaijan Tourism Sector Development Project (ATSDP) that outlined government resources and policies, legal and regulatory issues, and key industry players including tourism-related associations, travel agencies, and providers of transportation, accommodations, entertainment and dining facilities. Partners in Azerbaijan included USAID, BP, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Through a number of country and regional programs funded by US and multilateral donors, CDC Development Solutions assisted Bulgarian SMEs in developing the competitive advantage and strategic positioning necessary to drive business growth. Most recently, CDC Development Solutions supported competitiveness in the tourism sector through the Authentic Bulgaria initiative, which promoted tourism outside the commercial Black Sea resorts and closer to traditional cultural heritage areas in order to provide new opportunities for small businesses in the tourism sector. CDS worked with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to build capacity to meet the needs of international tourists. CDS also provided a series of training courses in topics ranging from general management and business planning to designing appropriate package tours and developing tourism education and curriculum programs.
CDC Development Solutions’ work in Georgia targeted small and medium size enterprises and provided them with the training and technical expertise necessary to obtain international quality standards certifications. As in other locations worldwide, CDC Development Solutions worked with and through local business service providers, including locally-owned consulting firms and business associations. In addition to improving quality standards, CDC Development Solutions worked with firms to upgrade their financial systems to comply with international standards. The ultimate goal of these interventions was to better enable Georgian firms to grow their businesses, hire new staff, and stimulate growth in the local economy.
In 1999, soon after the armed conflict diminished in Kosovo, CDC Development Solutions was contracted by the US State Department and the White House to develop a strategy to help local firms take advantage of the hundreds of millions of dollars of reconstruction assistance entering the country. CDC Development Solutions designed and implemented a program for significantly increasing local procurement so businesses would have greater financial strength and psychological incentives to rebuild and buyers would be able to obtain goods and services faster and cheaper. Also in Kosovo, CDC Development Solutions worked to build the capacity of high-potential SMEs in accounting, marketing, and production and operations. CDS focused on specific industries, including agribusiness, construction, textiles, metals, wood processing, and light manufacturing.
In addition to its work in Poland through the regional programs described below, CDS works in Poland through IBM’s Executive Corporate Service Corps, an innovative initiative that seeks to promote economic growth in emerging markets while providing new global business and leadership opportunities for IBM employees. Poland hosted one of the first Executive CSC teams, and CDS continues to coordinate diverse teams of IBM executive-level staff to provide support to a number of local NGOs, universities, and government agencies. IBM’s pro bono assistance in areas including IT, marketing, training, and strategic planning promote the ability of local stakeholders to generate sustainable growth and continued stability in Poland.
For almost 20 years, CDC Development Solutions has provided ongoing business advisory and capacity building services to Romanian SMEs and business associations to expand and strengthen the private sector. Most recently, CDC Development Solutions has supported Romania’s burgeoning tourism sector, assisting tourism associations, handicraft producers, hotels, and tour operators with all aspects of tourism development, including strategic marketing, product development, and institutional capacity building. Our efforts have also focused on developing greater recognition of “off-the-beaten-path” destinations by promoting traditional Romanian culture and creating new tourist routes, including the Saxon Heritage route near Sibiu. CDC Development Solutions also remains active in Romania through our partnership with IBM. Current programs target private sector firms, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and local governments, providing each group with world-class consulting services that enhance their ability to serve clients and constituents.
In Russia, CDC Development Solutions launched its program portfolio in the mid-1990s and developed a number of highly successful initiatives in partnership with USAID that included training, consulting, and networking services for SMEs and business service providers. Our programs facilitated the development of a network of sustainable Business Service Providers (BSPs) capable of designing industry-specific consulting services and products that help SMEs to access finance, build local mentorships and partnerships, and remove regulatory obstacles to SME growth. CDS also worked with several oil industry partners in Sakhalin and developed the initial Supplier Training Initiative model for local content development in the oil and gas industry, which has been replicated in many countries. CDS remains active in Russia through our partnership with IBM. The current IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program targets educational institutions and federal government entities, providing them with world-class consulting services that enhance their ability to serve clients and constituents.
In Ukraine, CDC Development Solutions has developed a solid track record of providing cutting edge services to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). CDC Development Solutions worked to strengthen the competitiveness of client SMEs by building capacity through direct technical assistance, organizational study tours, business linkages, market development services, and business service provider training. To promote the sustainability of the initiative, CDC Development Solutions focused on creating and strengthening a network of local Ukrainian business consultants and service providers. Through our MBA Enterprise Corps division, CDC Development Solutions also works with the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) in its efforts to enable Ukrainian scientists to find commercial uses for their research.
Enterprise and Economic Development in Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia/Montenegro, and Ukraine
In the wake of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, many of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were faced with mounting economic difficulties and declining levels of industry competitiveness. As an implementer of one of the first USAID-funded multi-country economic development programs in the region, CDC Development Solutions expanded and strengthened private sector activity by providing targeted training and technical assistance to SMEs in Albania, Serbia/Montenegro, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kosovo and Bosnia. The broad-based program worked with businesses; local, regional and national governments; and business support organizations, including chambers of commerce and associations in developing the skills needed to be competitive in the nascent market economy.
Trading Regionally and Developing Expertise (TRADE), a five-year program funded by USAID, was designed and implemented by CDC Development Solutions with the objective of stimulating economic development in Central and Eastern Europe by increasing the ability of local SMEs to capitalize on regional and international trade opportunities. Our approach to TRADE centered on building capacity within local business consulting firms in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary so as to develop and strengthen a range of consulting services that targeted small and medium size firms pursuing market expansion opportunities. CDC Development Solutions’ technical assistance and training focused on consulting products and services that would assist SMEs in identifying trade opportunities and partners, meeting international quality and safety standards, developing market entry strategies, and establishing regional and international trade linkages. The network of business service providers developed under the program persists to this day as the Thyses Network, which continues to provide cross-border linkages and encourage collaboration among its members.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) Regional Competitiveness Project in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia
In partnership with USAID’s Europe and Eurasia Bureau, CDC Development Solutions leveraged the infrastructure of the TRADE regional project to conduct an assessment of the ICT sector in six Southeast European countries for the design of a one-year project that would identify and develop opportunities for regional cooperation to make the ICT sector in Southeast Europe competitive in international markets. The team identified two projects: creating a regional ICT cluster and developing a structure to improve ICT workforce training in the region.
In the early years following the fall of the Berlin Wall, CDC Development Solutions fielded long-term MBA Enterprise Corps advisors to Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia to provide cutting-edge solutions to small firms in a range of recovering industries. The MBAEC Advisors worked with hundreds of companies to secure new international contracts for goods and services, and they provided best practices in core business areas such as financial management, strategic planning, and customer service. Their work led to the creation of thousands of new jobs and contributed to the rebuilding of the private sector in these countries during the 1990s.