6th Arab Forum on SMEs2012

6th Arab Forum on SMEs

AFEI delegation participated in the 6th Arab Forum on SMEs which tackled the important role of SMEs in employment (the priority in the region currently), the importance of capacity building to support SMEs competitiveness, and some experiences from the Arab countries in developing SMEs.

AFEI presented a paper titled “AFEI approach to supporting SMEs” as an example of a SMEs support programs. The paper highlighted the need for professional/business associations to engage in charity measures only through a specialized organization and transparently in order to earn the trust of the governmental sector.

One of the distinguished ideas discussed was the importance of offering technical support to SMEs alongside the financing. The forum recommended working on simplifying the administrative procedures for firms, and establishing & supporting incubators in the Arab countries as a tool for creating job opportunities.

Related links:

Forum at Tunisian Industry PortalArab Industrial Development and Mining Organization

Downloadable files:

AgendaBrochureThe final statement

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4th Forum on Successful Management Practices

The forum was organized in cooperation between Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) and the HRD Ministry in Sudan, and attracted broad participation from the Arab countries. Model experiences in the field of successful managerial practices were presented to the audience.

In the third day, after a field visit to GIAD Industrial Group, participants were introduced to the experience of GIAD in implementing total quality system and excellence model.

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Project for setting the National Policy for Science, Technology, and Innovation in Syria

The Higher Commission for Scientific Research (HCSR) continued its project “Setting the national policy for science, technology, and innovation in Syria”, and promoted the Scientific Research Information System that it established on its website.

With a resolution of the prime minister, a “Scientific, advisory, specialized committee in the industry sector” was established under the umbrella of HCSR, and AFEI General secretary is participating as a representative of the business sector. In summary, the committee is a platform for coordination amongst HCSR and represented institutions which will contribute in examining issues and topics related to the industry sector from a research and technology perspective, as well as in following up the implementation of project resolutions related to the industry sector.

Related links:

HCSR website
Scientific Research Information System website
Activities of this project in 2011

3rd German-Arab Education and Vocational Training Forum

3rd German-Arab Education and Vocational Training Forum

The AFEI Secretary General participated in the forum which was hosted by Ghorfa in cooperation with iMove (an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and was organized under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Education & Research. The forum is seen as a platform for companies and institutions in the sector of education to expand and strengthen the business relationships and cooperation, and it was attended by over 250 participants from the Arab countries, Germany and Europe.

Prior to the official opening of the forum, some of the attendees took part in a visit to TRAINICO which gave visitors a tour in the training centre.
During the two day forum, key speakers from the Arab world and Germany reported on the current state of affairs as well as new projects and trends in the education and vocational training sector.

Related links:

Forum On iMOVE website

Downloadable files:

FlyerProgramReport, Presentations sessions1sessions2sessions3sessions4

Launching conference for TRESMED 4

This project -financed by the European Commission- aims to consolidate channels for collaboration and dialogue amongst the organizations representing economic and social interests all over the Euro-Mediterranean region. Present and actively participating in the launch conference were representatives of the Economic & Social Councils (ESCs) of Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Also present were organizations representing civil society from Tunisia, Syria (AFEI General Secretary), Egypt and Palestine.

The conference was structured into three main themes – “Young people, training and social dialogue”, “Women and social dialogue” and “Good practices in the region and regional cooperation”.

The project is working on creating a network between the EU, the countries of the Mediterranean and French-speaking countries to exchange about the reforms, institutional capacity building, and economic growth. Institutionalization of social dialogue is the core of the project activities.

Related links:


Downloadable files:

Program (En)Conclusions (En)AFEI reportPresentation from Syria

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National Apprenticeship Committee meeting

AFEI members from Syria participated -as representatives of the business sector- in the meeting of National Apprenticeship Committee that was dedicated to discuss the necessary amendments on the proposed decree to establish the “National Commission for TVET” from the perspective of employers so that it allows the commission to work on making the TVET system more flexible and responsive to developments in the LM.

Worth noting that the proposal to establish a commission followed years of cooperation between the education and business sectors which enabled partners to get introduced to experiences of other developed countries through the Apprenticeship Project (implemented by ETF) and the Modernization of VET System in Syria Program (proposed 3 scenarios for the commission). So; experience in public-private partnership was built on pilot level before setting the legal and administrative framework needed to effectively serve that partnership.

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Launching LM Report 2010-2011 in Syria

AFEI representatives participated in the launching event of the first LM report in Syria which presented data analysis of the supply and demand sides of LM for 2009-2010 and reflected the labor force situation and LM changes. Such information supports decision making at different institutions (especially those concerned with the human resources), setting economic and social (micro/macro) policies, as well as decision making on the implementation level.

This study was based on 2 surveys implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MOSAL) in cooperation with the Central Bureau of Statistics within the framework of the UNDP project “Establishment of a Database for a Comprehensive Labor and Employment Policy in Syria “.

Results showed challenges of priority to be addressed in governmental measures and plans, namely:

1)    Constant pressure on the LM and increasing number of the entrants (due to high population growth).

2)    Increase in dependency rate.

3)    Low economic participation of women.

4)    Continuous mismatch between the output of the education system and the LM needs.

Related links:

United Nations Development Program in Syria

Downloadable files

WS AgendaPresentation


Launching conference of the regional project “Social Partnership in VET in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region”

The conference clarified the methodology of the regional project (implemented by ETF)  which aims at contributing to strengthening the role of social partners in VET focusing on institutional capacity building of employers organizations and trade unions engaged in VET in neighboring countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region.

Participating countries decided that the focus of the project will be on the continuing vocational training (CVT), i.e. the training of the employed and those seeking employment, which enables dealing with unemployed youth as they constitute a considerable proportion of overall unemployment in the region.

ETF will support each country following a common path in six steps:

1) Awareness raising on the role of social partners

2) Awareness raising on the importance of working together

3) Mapping the role of Social Partners in VET in partner countries

4) Definition of an agreed framework for cooperation

5) Definition of common position papers in a specific topic

6) Definition of common action plan in a specific topic linked to continuing training

In countries where Social Partners have no or very limited experience in dealing with VET issues, the ETF’s work will probably focus on the first three steps. In countries where social partners have already experience in cooperating with VET issues, the ETF could start from working at step 4 facilitating a more technical work on a specific topic.

Related links:

The project on ETF website

Downloadable files:


wrap up2011

Wrap-up Regional Seminar on “Approaches to Innovation Policy Design for SMEs”

This seminar is the final activity of the project “Promotion of Innovation and Technology for SMEs in the Near East” funded by the German government and implemented by giz in partnership with the concerned institutions in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The General Secretary of AFEI participated in various activities of the project as a representative of the private sector.

The project was based on the fact that all three countries are facing a common problem; therefore, working on the regional level is useful to take advantage of the strengths of each country. Discussions showed that the challenge is not in the capacity for inventing and innovating in the region, rather it lies in the step that comes after that because what matters at the end is the success in the market (innovation). Presentations put emphasis on the idea that policies (which are guidelines) are inducing the implementation of measures; thus, tow principles should be taken into account in designing policies: (1) to be implementable, and (2) to promote inter-disciplinary activities.

The outcome of discussions and exchange is the following:
–    Involving more active players and addressing the issue of communications.
–    Linking policies with tangible activities (step-by-step approach): start from where we are, and learn-by-doing.
–    Adopting the system perspective: working on all levels, promote linkages, and define interdependencies. 

Related links:

Project description on the GIZ website

Downloadable files:


“Services for Innovating Firms” workshop

AFEI General Secretary participated in the Syrian delegation to the workshop that was organized by CMI, EIB, and WBI within the framework of the project “Fostering Innovation”.

The workshop –organized on the request of managers of techno-parks and incubators in the Mediterranean partner countries- aimed at introducing the best practices in providing services that the innovating firms need. Participants were senior experts in innovation coming from seven Mediterranean partner countries, therefore, the discussions in the workshop covered wider issues of common interest and deepened to tackle what makes the innovation policy effective in the Mediterranean countries.

AFEI General Secretary presented the Syrian paper that showed the current situation of the innovation in Syria according to the evaluation study carried out in 2010 within the framework of the giz regional project “Promotion of Innovation and Technology for SMEs in the Near East” and identified field and priorities of improvements (esp. entrepreneurship and incubators) and summarized the experiences of different institutions (SEBC, SCS, SSSY) in establishing incubators in Syria.

Downloadable files:

Workshop program

CMI Brochure (en)