Key Libyan and European economic players gathered on 11 January in Tunis to identify the main areas of support to Libyan Chambers of Commerce through an EU-funded project on 'Support to Libya for Economic Integration, Diversification and Sustainable employment’ (SLEIDSE), which aims to boost the socio-economic development of the country.
Ambassador Bettina Muscheidt, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, underlined that: “In all of the EU's Member States, Chambers of Commerce play indispensable roles as modern public-private institutions. But the Libyan Chambers of Commerce really have an even more important responsibility to carry: you are, in many respects, a first generation of institutions that can help to change the face of the Libyan economy, help your businesses to become competitive, diversify, become creative and innovative. In many respects, I am thinking of the Chambers of Commerce being like 'lighthouses' - based everywhere where their guidance is needed.''
Libyan Minister of Economy Nasir Shaglan emphasised the importance of developing the services of the Chambers of Commerce and strengthening their roles according to international best practices: “The Government is strongly engaged in promoting public-private partnerships as strong leverages to foster the current economic recovery,” he said.
Currently, most Libyan Chambers of Commerce perform administrative tasks for their members, mainly issuing certificates and delivering activity licences. But international experience shows that Chambers of Commerce can also effectively play a key role in supporting the development and success of enterprises, both locally and abroad. Such Chambers bring forward local and international business opportunities, and provide entrepreneurs with tools such as trainings, networking events and legal advice to boost the development of their businesses. The longer-term goal of the SLEIDSE project is thus to support the upgrading of selected Libyan Chambers of Commerce to provide taylor-made services to Libyan SMEs.
The €7.8 million SLEIDSE project is today the largest international private sector development programme for Libyan enterprises with concrete capacity building operations and actions in Libya. It is financed by the European Union, and co-financed and implemented by Expertise France. It aims at developing micro, small and medium enterprises in Libya in order to provide Libyan youth with employment potential and integration in the economy.
One of its major components, implemented together by Expertise France and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), aims at strengthening the capacities of Libyan Chambers of Commerce through targeted trainings involving best from the EU and internationally.