ITC, OIF, Ministry of Trade launch ‘Made in Senegal’

20 April 2017
ITC News
New project to strengthen e-solutions skills among young entrepreneurs in Senegal.

The International Trade Centre (ITC), the International Organisation of la francophonie (OIF) and the Ministry of Trade of Senegal have announced that they will step up support to young entrepreneurs in Senegal.

The announcement was made in Dakar during the launch of the ‘Made in Senegal’ project on 11 April, which included the participation of Mr Alioune Sarr, Minister of trade, informal sector, consumption, promotion of local products and small and medium sized enterprises, Ms. Aicha Pouye, ITC’s Director of Market Development, Mr Bathie Ciss, Secretary-General of Senegal’s Export Promotion Agency (ASEPEX) and Mr. Mohamed Konate, OIF Regional Director for Western Africa.

The ‘Made in Senegal’ platform will be providing support to 20 young entrepreneurs and help them internationalize their businesses. The project will feed into the Government’s ‘Emerging Senegal Plan’, a cross-sectoral package of reforms to boost economic growth.
Minister Sarr said: ‘This project will allow for a better connection of young Senegalese entrepreneurs to international markets hence its necessity.’

Innovative solutions

The ‘Made in Senegal’ project comes in response to the need to provide more innovative support and concrete solutions to digitalize businesses to complement existing institutional support.

‘Suppliers are increasingly turning to e-commerce and e-platforms as the preferred method for reaching clients, but in practice, in developing countries, a number of barriers effectively preclude the involvement of a majority of SMEs,’ Ms. Pouye said. ‘Key among them is the level of shipping costs, the availability and cost of international payment solutions but also building trust with a customer who’s in another country and who doesn’t know the company, hence the approach proposed in this “Made in Senegal” project.’

As part of the project a digital ‘Made in Senegal’ platform will be built through which the entrepreneurs will be connected to markets, enabling them to sell products and services online. In addition to providing online visibility, the platform will help entrepreneurs gain the necessary credibility to reach new clients outside Senegal.

ITC will be providing training to the selected entrepreneurs on variety of issues, including on how to best promote their product on the platform, digitization and how to manage customer relationships. Following the selection and successful training of the first 20 entrepreneurs, the project will open for additional participants to become part of ‘Made in Senegal’.