[page-number of print edition: 3]

Peter Oesterdiekhoff

This reader compiles the papers presented at the first meeting of the SEPAC Working Group on "Policy Issues" which was held in September 1997. The Working Group was formed end of 1996 as one of five working groups under SEPAC's new organizational set-up.

It is noticeable that at this junction of time quite a few SADC countries have spent efforts in designing policies to foster the development of the micro, small and medium business sector. It seems that based on previous experiences with piece-meal policies and single interventionist measures, there is a growing tendency towards comprehensive policy approaches since the beginning of the 1990s. Some SADC countries have already drafted and implemented such policies, like Mauritius and South Africa, other have drafted a policy paper like Malawi or Namibia where the new policy was presented very recently. More countries have embarked on a process of consulting on a new SMME policy like e.g. Botswana and Swaziland.

Many benefits will arise from an exchange of views and experiences between representatives of countries which face similar challenges, but are in different stages of policy design and implementation. Certainly, there are already lessons learnt by some countries which deserve to be discussed by other ones, and there is definitely a range of issues of common interest. It was the intention of the workshop to learn from each other in order to maximize mutual benefits from the conference debate.

[page-number of print edition: 4]

This reader comprises a number of country papers which were presented during the first conference day. In pursuance of comparability of presentations, it had been suggested that all papers follow a certain framework catching the main aspects a fully-fledged SME policy should take into consideration. Thereby we hoped to ensure a minimum degree of comparability of results.

The papers have been edited and, where appropriate, shortened. The use of the term "SME" throughout the reader may look somehow inconsistent. In some countries it refers to small and medium businesses, while in others to small and micro businesses. This applies to the way, the term is commonly used as well as to official policy documents. We decided, therefore, to leave the terms as we found them in the papers.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Februar 2000

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