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DI at work

COP22 Marrakech 2016
The Maghreb private sector mobilises at the COP22

On November 7 to 18, 2016, the Conference of Parties (COP22) convened in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP was both a political conference and a climate change fair, which attracted key public and private stakeholders who all participated in the discussion about solving global climate challenges.  

All of the Maghreb countries have committed themselves to promote the potential of renewable energy sources and support the Kyoto process. As part of the Paris Agreement, the countries have furthermore committed themselves under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce the level of carbon emissions by among other reducing energy consumption in industry. Achieving these targets will be costly for industry. Without access to affordable climate finance, the cost of production will increase significantly and eventually presents a worrying problem for the private sector and the economies as a whole.  

The Maghreb Union of Employers (UME) therefore decided to take part in the COP22 with the purpose of voicing the concerns and solutions of the Maghreb private sector in relation to energy efficiency and climate financing and presenting recommendations to actions.  

The UME partners – Maghreb business and employers’ organisations – have been undertaking preparatory efforts to the COP22 consisting of a series of national round tables executed throughout the autumn 2016. Each national round table resulted in a set of recommendations from Mauritania, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco respectively.  

The partners subsequently convened in Brussels in order to learn from the European private sector experience of climate change adaptation and mitigation, and to consolidate the national recommendations. The preparatory effort resulted in a joint declaration, signed by UME Presidents on COP22 November 16.  

The project is part of the Maghreb Initiative for Commerce and Investment (IMCI) supported by the Confederation of Danish Industry under the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme.

Moroccan companies trained to improve Corporate Social Responsibility

Concerns about the environment, decent working conditions, and good leadership are increasingly on the agenda for Moroccan companies. While several international guidelines and principles for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) exist, implementing them presents a great challenge to many companies.

To address this challenge, DI’s Moroccan sister organisation, CGEM, has developed a set of tools to facilitate the action companies are looking to take. Next challenge is then to raise the awareness about the tools and, most importantly, to use the tools strategically and sustainably. DI has therefore supported CGEM in developing a training course for their member companies.

The first course was successfully executed in the Moroccan region Oujda for 14 small and large companies, and two more will follow in other regions.

The project is financed by the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme under the Danish Foreign Ministry.

Lars and Flora
Kenyan presence at the DI summit
On the 28th of September the annual summit for DI attracted both danish and international top leaders and representatives. Together with 1000 DI member organisations DI Chairman Lars Mikkelgaard-Jensen and chairlady Flora Mutahi, from Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) attended at the Danish National Opera. Flora partook in meetings concerning organizational governance, strategy development and different sector policy and initiatives driven by DI. Flora Mutahi also discussed the current and future cooperation between DI and KAM, including the recent set-up of two local Kenyan employees by DI. The two local employees is a new way for DI to have local presence and provide local knowledge advice to our members.     
Public Private Partnership in Ghana
Watch the video, and see Peter Blom, Executive Director at Margins Id Group, explain how DI helped a Public Private Partnership, which has now grown to one of Ghana's largest companies.
Colombia Visit
Social dialogue in a post-war context

After more than five decades of internal conflict in Colombia peace might, finally, be within reach. The peace agreement between the guerilla group FARC and the Colombian government is set to be ratified on October the 2nd 2016. Although polls point to a ‘yes’, the Colombian population is divided, and the result cannot be predicted with certainty.  

Regardless of the result, the Colombian labour market is under pressure to act efficiently on the conflicts potential end. With support from the Danish foreign ministry, DI and the LO/FTF Council support their Colombian labour market counterparts in their effort to address post-conflict challenges and assure a stable transition period.  

To put words into actions, on August 29-31 the partners successfully executed a workshop to define common areas of interest across employers and unions. They further more agreed on interventions to be initiated at company level as well as on the political scene.  

The Colombian Ministry of Labour also took active part in the workshop and illustrated great interest in supporting the initiatives and the cooperation of the social partners.  

Jordan
How to become an effective organisation?

DI Deputy Director, Mr. Bjarne Palstrøm, paid DI's sister organisation, Jordan Chamber of Industry a visit on August 16-17th 2016 in order to try to facilitate a discussion on how the organisation can improve its governance structure and thereby become a more efficient and effective business organisation. The topic of division of tasks between board and secretariat was especially touched upon by first gathering comments and input from the secretariat staff and then delivering them to the board. Other areas that was touched upon included membership structure, empowerment of employees and communication.

The board as a consequence of the workshop decided to allocate more responsibility to the secretariat which for a long time has been a barrier to effectiveness.

Myanmar
Creating a stable labour market in Myanmar

On 8-11th of August DI went to Myanmar together with the biggest Danish Union (LO/FTF) to investigate how social dialogue can be improved in the country that only five years ago opened up to the world after decades of military rule and isolation. Not surprising, most concepts such as social dialogue [dialogue between employers' organisations and unions, red.] are new in the country and the labour market partners are just beginning to define their roles. Nevertheless, the partners are very open to Danish inspiration. As part of the visit, DI visited a garment factory to get an understanding of the mediation mechanisms already in place at company level.

In this fascinating time of Myanmar's history, DI looks forward to working with its sister organisation in Yangon to try to build its capacity as a capable social dialogue partner and to try to shape the relations with the unions in a positive direction, building trust as a cornerstone. Hopefully this will pave the way for a more stable labour market which is fundamental for attracting foreign direct investment.

Picture from Business Delegation to Jordan
Business Delegation to Jordan

It is no surprise that Danish companies possess state of the art knowhow and expertise. What is new is how this technology and know-how can be pooled with the vast knowledge of local NGOs and perhaps even universities and then applied to the benefit of the vast number of refugees all across the world, with the Middle East as starting point. There are more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan and more than 80% of them live outside the camps. Local institutions are under immense pressure and have an urgent need of new solutions and products that may help them overcome the challenges that the refugees cause.

A business delegation was therefore arranged on 29th of May to 2nd of June with the purpose of visiting a refugee camp (Zatari camp) and host communities to investigate how solutions and products can be put in play. The focus of the delegation was innovation and new, strategic thinking in terms of partnerships with civil society and NGOs and therefore a half day work shop was arranged in which the various stakeholders were presented with success cases of companies entering the emergency relief market and were time was allocated to the discussion of new ways of collaborating. Companies and participants overall returned very satisfied and the follow up will now determine how the new ideas and concepts can be applied.

The delegation was arranged by DI (incl. BoP Learning Lab), Access2Innovation and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and participating 13 companies were spread across various sectors ranging from shelter, health, water and sanitation and renewable energy. Two universities and one NGO also participated.

Picture from conference
Regional Conference in Amman with Focus on Public-Private Dialogue

Small and medium sized companies represent more than 90% of the industrial landscape in Jordan and occupy a vast majority of the labor force. Nevertheless, numerous challenges and barriers exist for them to unleash their potential to create greater economic growth for Jordan. One of the key ways of improving the conditions for SMEs is to improve the dialogue between the private sector organisations and the public sector. With this in mind, the Jordan Chamber of Industry together with DI organized a regional conference on 23rd-24th of May in Amman, Jordan.

The conference was held under the patronage of the Prime Minister, Mr. Ensour, and attracted more than 300 participants from Jordan, the MENA region and from elsewhere around the world. With several panel debates between high-level decision makers from private sector, public sector and donor community a dialogue was initiated on how to improve the status quo in Jordan and as conclusion of the conference, JCI will develop a suggestion for a structured public-private dialogue (PPD) in Jordan, with itself taking the lead from the private sector side. Moreover, several success cases will be written adding to the vast experience gathered by the World Bank, on www.publicprivatedialogue.com. You can find the conference’s program, pictures and presentations on www.jci-sme.com.

From DI’s side Mrs. Sidsel Dyrholm Holst held DI’s speech in the opening session – the speech was quoted throughout the conference in all sessions. Moreover, Mrs. Lise Walbom facilitated an interactive session focusing on how chambers and business associations become better advocates of their companies by conducting better policy advocacy.

Meeting about social diallogue
Positive Social Dialogue Continues in Morocco

In November 2015, the Moroccan social partners visited Denmark to learn about the Danish labour market model and take home inspiration for the Moroccan model. Four labour unions and the Moroccan employers’ organisation CGEM, DI’s partner, participated in the visit that was part of a long-term cooperation between the parties supported by DI and the LO/FTF Council.

After a successful visit in 2015, the social dialogue cooperation continues in 2016, and the partners recently met to plan the year’s activities, which among other things will address the challenges related to the informal economy in Morocco.

Learning about CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility on the Moroccan Agenda

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a subject of increasing interest in Morocco. Concerns about for example decent work and the environment are more and more on the agenda of Moroccan companies.  

Principles for improvement are, however, not always straightforward for companies to implement. DI’s sister organisation CGEM has for several years worked to promote CSR in Morocco and assist companies in improving their CSR efforts.

DI and CGEM are now developing a CSR training for companies looking to engage more actively in CSR. The cooperation also includes creating more broad awareness about the importance and potential of CSR for companies.

Workshop at meeting room
How to develop sustainable organisations
In order to help the world's most poor, civil society organisations (CSOs) have to avoid to be amongst them. Attention is hence needed to the sustainability of CSOs and particularly sustainable revenue streams.

Together with the World Bank DI therefore facilitated a three day workshop in Beirut, Lebanon, from 13-15th of April for more than 30 civil society organisations. The focus was how civil society organizations can become more sustainable - both by improving their capacity to do policy advocacy, and by regarding their organisations as businesses and for instance innovating their revenue streams.

With its vast experience in organizational development of business organisations and policy advocacy, DI was asked to demonstrate its knowledge within the area and tailor the tools to CSOs. Through handouts, interactive exercises and discussions, participants was challenged to look at themselves in a mirror and be critical in terms of their future development. The participating organisations expressed high appreciation of the tools and methods which will now help them become more sustainable. 

Social Dialogue in Colombia

In February 2016, the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish labour union, LO/FTF Council, launched a new social dialogue project in Colombia. The project aims to strengthen the bi- and tripartite social dialogue between the Colombian social partners seeking to eventually create a more stable labour market in the country. The project will be implemented in partnership with Colombia’s largest business and employers’ organisation and three largest labour unions.

With an expected GDP growth of 4.2 % in 2016-2019, rich natural resources, improved trade regimes, and a decreasing poverty rate, Colombia stands before a promising future. However, the country also faces vast challenges in terms of labour market instability, inequality, social insecurity, a large informal economy, and internal conflicts.

Colombia has been haunted by internal conflicts for more than five decades. Peace has been negotiated for many years, most recently in the Havana Process between the Colombian government headed by President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerrilla movement Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). After multiple previous attempts to reach a peace agreement, the Havana Process – that started in November 2013 – now seems promising in terms of reaching consensus and signing a final document. The two parties have set themselves the deadline 23rd of March 2016.

Considering these developments, the social dialogue project is very timely. A potential end of conflict will pose challenges for the Colombian society and the social partners but not least also open a window of opportunity to improve the labour market. Reintegration into the labour market of young ex-combatants of the armed conflict will be a dominant issue in the coming years demanding a strong role of the social partners and their cooperation. The social dialogue project will support this endeavour as well as address other challenges on the labour market, including a minimum degree of unionisation, collective bargaining agreements and negotiations.

The project will also open up for tightened commercial relations between Denmark and Colombia. As South America’s 4th largest economy with a population of nearly 50 million and rich natural resources, Colombia represents an interesting market for Danish companies, which was manifested by the opening of the Danish embassy in Bogotá and a business delegation in 2014.

The social dialogue project will run over three years with financing from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Green transition in the MENA: going forward but not fast enough

The Arab-EU Business Facilitation Network (AE-Metier) met on 19th if January in Abu Dhabi for its first working group meeting of 2016. The meeting was building on the consensus reached in October 2015, to work for the green transition in the region. It was therefore held back-to-back with the World Future a Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

The meeting had the prime objective of qualifying the focus within green transition and hence groups worked with how the AE-members and their more than 1m companies may work with the different topics. Following the conclusions, the activities for 2016 will be planned.

The opening of the WFES on the 18th of January was the marking of UAE's continuous targeted efforts and dedication to promote green growth in the legacy of HE Sheikh Zayed. Key note speakers stressed the importance of persistence in this regard- Ban Ki Moon underlined the sustainable development goals and their focus on green growth and said that 'every dollar spent on infrastructure in the future must be spent on environmental friendly solution'. Mexicos president presented his governments commitment to green growth while the French Foreign Minister stressed the need to operationalize and implement the commitments in the Paris declaration as soon as possible. And the platform IS burning. As Ban Ki Moon said, "there is no plan B for the planet, as there is no plan B". This was supported by Gro Harlem Bundtland, former prime minister of Norway who received the Zayed Future Energy Prize for 'life long achievement' with the words: "we must, we can and we should" in regards to the importance of working for a greener planet.  

Inspired by the leadership for green transition demonstrated by the speakers at the WFES opening day, and encouraged by the companies exhibiting their solutions and products within the area, the AE-network now works to find the best way they as business organisations may promote this transition by promoting the two key factors essential for private sector engagement: certainty (reducing risk) and incentives (promoting return on investment).

Oman - an interesting market for Danish investors

On 20th of January, DI visited its sister organization, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), in the country's capital Muscat to learn more about the potential for Danish companies and to strengthen the ties with the largest business organisation in the country.

Several factors are advantageous for investors. You can for instance have 100% ownership of your company and within the GCC countries you can export without tax. Corporate taxation level is around 12%.

Moreover, the free trade zones give further advantages. At the same time, Oman is opening more and more up and it is becoming easier being a foreigner in the Sultanate.

Together with the new railway to be finished in 2018 the large Duqm port and special economic zone project will significantly ease logistics across the large country and to other international trade hubs such as Singapore.

OCCI is the largest business organization in the country with more than 270,000 companies. It is keen to help Danish investors enter the market and therefore serves as an excellent port of call for Danish companies.  

SNAPSHOTS FROM OUR LATESTS ACTIVITIES, WORKSHOPS, AND PARTNER VISITS
Strengthening the ties with the private sector in Lebanon

DI visited its Lebanese sister organisations 15th of January 2016 to strengthen its network in the country and to build closer commercial ties between Denmark and Lebanon.

Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and Chamber of Commerce, Industri and Agriculture for Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIA-BML) are both prominent business organisations located in the same building at the heart of Beirut.

Both organisations fight a tough battle for an improved business environment in the country, which hasn't had a president for more than 1,5 year now. While the political climate have been stalled, the private sector has in impressing ways found a way to manage meanwhile. 

Lebanon still represents an interesting market for Danish companies - although it is a relatively small market it is regarded as the Paris of the Middle East, which affects the Lebanese business culture in a more European/Western direction than several of its neighbours.

Based on the visit and in close cooperation with the Royal Danish Embassy, DI continues to work to promote commercial links with Lebanon and improve the country's business climate.

Happy members
How to keep members satisfied?

This was the topic of a three day workshop from 10-12th of November at the Jordan Chamber of Industry in Amman. The workshop was facilitated by Member Recruitment and Retention expert Jakob Gudum who on a daily basis work to keep DI's members satisfied. 

The workshop focused on the importance of maintaining continuous dialogue with members and therefore included visit to two member companies of JCI - a printing and packaging company and a dairy company. The company leaders each got time to express their satisfaction with the membership and good discussions revolved around the room for improvement for JCI as a member oriented organization. A visit to the production site was also on the schedule. 

Back at the premises of JCI, the employees was taught hands-on sales advice and guidance on how to contact members over the phone, receive feedback and engage in constructive dialogue regarding their membership potential.

The workshop was an important step in JCI's process of becoming a member-oriented business organization.  

Man in front of logo
FPCCIA Visit

On November 16-17th DI paid a visit to our sister Organisation in Ramallah, Palestine - Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (FPCCIA).

The federation covers 18 chambers across the West Bank and Gaza which are more or less active depending on the challenges inherent in the Israeli occupation. In total the organization covers more than 60,000 Palestinian companies and thus represents the legitimate voice of the industry in the country.   

Besides being an founding father and active partner in the Arab-EU Business Facilitation Network, FPCCIA is an important partner for DI as it acts as point of local contact for any Danish company wishing to do business in the country.  

Boosting the Startup Environment in Jordan

On 31st of October, Venture Scout and DI arranged a one day training session of Jordan’s future entrepreneurs, hosted by the German Jordanian University in Amman.

The workshop focused on ‘the lean startup’ and applying the Business Model Canvas on new ideas – hence helping coming entrepreneurs to concretize their ideas and move on in their ideation process and their business model design. During the workshop the attendees got concrete tools and advice on their own businesses.

Hopefully these youngsters will be encouraged to continue their work and eventually help reduce the strikingly high youth unemployment that marks the country, and the region.

The event was launched under the StartUp MENA umbrella: www.startup-mena.com

Picture of participants
United Private Sector Towards Green Transition

At the third working group meeting of 2015 of The Arab-EU Business Facilitation Network (AE-Network) on 20th-22nd of October at the Dead Sea in Jordan, the AE-network committed itself to working towards green transition of the MENA region, starting 2016. Realizing the increasing effects of climate change combined with availability of modern technology and know-how, the time has come to exploit the favourable conditions for renewable energy sources and ensure a sustainable basis for competitiveness of the private sector across the MENA region. The commitment feeds directly into the UN SDGs.

The AE-Network consists of leading business organisations from the entire MENA region and altogether represent more than 1 million companies. The network meets 3-4 times a year to discuss common challenges, share experience and best practice, and work together for private sector lead reform and growth.

Strengthening the Ties: Visit from Kenya Association of Manufacturers

Above, Ms. Phyllis Wagakia with Deputy Director Niels Tanderup Kristensen, Director Jacob Kjeldsen and Manager Peter V. Helk.

In late September, DI had the great pleasure of hosting newly appointed CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Ms. Phyllis Wagakia. During her three-day visit, Ms. Wagakia meet with representatives from both DI and members of Danish parliament. Ms. Wagakia also participated in DI’s annual summit, this year focusing on Denmark as a talent nation.

It was a great pleasure welcoming Ms. Wagakia, whose visit marked more than 15 years of close collaboration between KAM and DI. Kenya Association of Manufacturers is a close partner and aid to DI in the East African region.

Ms. Wagakia elaborated on her vision for KAM going forward and exchanged ideas and experiences on topics such as regional policies, membership organisation structure, and organisation methodology.

During her visit, Ms. Wagakia also met with members of Denmark’s parliament, where she had the opportunity to talk on how KAM works with Kenyan politicians, advocating for an improved business environment. 

Participating in DI's annual Summit, Ms. Wagakia experienced first hand how DI assemble politicians, the business community and the unions addressing political issues. This year participants discussed the need for greater vocational education in Denmark. 

Workshop by DI
Policy Advocacy Workshop in Jordan

How do you get your message in your policy advocacy effort across to politicians and create value for your members? This was the topic of a two day workshop held on 15-16th of September in Amman, Jordan, for the staff members of Jordan Chamber of Industry. As the largest business organization in the country with a member base of more than 17,000 companies JCI represents the legitimate voice of the industrial sector of the country. It is therefore of uttermost importance that the organization is effective in its key mandate, namely representing its companies in policy reform process. But how to do effective policy advocacy? Needless to say it depends on the context in which you are based and obviously there are significant differences between Jordan and Denmark. Nevertheless, DI has developed a guide on How to Conduct Effective Policy Advocacy in the attempt to pass on some of the organisation’s experience through more than 100 years.

DI Expert and Senior Advisor, Lise Walbom conducted a two day workshop based on this guide and also had half a day to discuss the possibilities for effectiveness enhancement with the Board. This mainly relates to the governance structure of JCI, which is also key in terms of being efficient and effective.

Although it takes many years to develop and refine tools and methods in the policy advocacy, JCI staff members were very satisfied with their new knowledge on concrete templates and working methods. One participant stated that she learned to think out of the box and thinking about alternative solutions when conducting policy advocacy. Another said, “although policy advocacy is tailored for each effort, I’ve learned that there actually is a generic model with steps to follow each time”. Moreover, the board expressed a clear wish to continue a dedicated effort towards a more effective governance structure.

And so the work continues for a more  conducive business environment in Jordan.

A spring of organisational development and competence building in Tunisia

The spring of 2015 has offered several activities related to the organisational development and competence building of the Tunisian employers’ organisation and DI’s sister organisation ‘Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce et de l’Artisanat’ (UTICA).  

As part of the competence building, the president of UTICA and 12 members of UTICA’s board have attended a media training. The purpose of the training was to improve the ability of UTICA representatives to interact calmly and efficiently with the media in order to get through key messages to the right stakeholders and lead a constructive dialogue in public. The training was conducted by a DI journalist and expert on media and press relations from the perspective of a business and employers’ organisation. Based on the DI experience, the participants were given theoretical insight into the subject and were presented to concrete tools for managing the media interaction.

Another activity serving to build the competences of UTICA’s staff was a training in project management conducted for 7 UTICA employees who are all working with project management on a daily basis. The training was conducted by the Tunisian project management institute ‘TenStep’, regional partner of TenStep Inc. (USA), and gave participants theoretical and practical knowledge of the fundamentals of the project management cycle. Concrete cases from UTICA’s actual work were used in the training, including UTICA’s effort to develop EU projects and UTICA’s establishment of their own training academy.  

This training academy, ‘UTICA Academy’, was later subject to a workshop facilitated by a DI expert. The objective of the workshop was to discuss the overall purpose of the academy, its content, its thematic focus areas, and its financial foundation. The output of the workshop was a definition of a number of internal and external courses, their raison-d’être, and their purpose, and an action plan to establish the academy.  

 Alongside the academy, organisational development was sought promoted within UTICA’s international department. Over a consistent period of time, DI has been assisting UTICA in undertaking a long-term structural change of this department, and one more step in this process were taken at a DI-UTICA workshop in June.

Second working group meeting in 2015 in Cairo

The Arab-EU Business Facilitation Network (the AE-Network) held its second working group meeting of 2015 in Cairo 2nd-4th  of June. The AE-Network consists of leading business membership organisations from 14 countries across the entire MENA region and seeks to promote private sector led economic growth and development by addressing common challenges, sharing knowledge, conducting B2B activities and more.

The network meeting in Cairo was hosted by the Environmental Compliance Office and Sustainable Development (ECO) department of the Federation of Egyptian Industry (FEI) – FEI/ECO. The agenda for the meeting included formalization of the structure of the network such as value proposition finalization, adoption of articles of association, and invitation of new network members. It also included site visit to one of the world’s largest crystal producers, B2B meeting and formal dinner with decision makers in the private sector in Egypt. Last but not least, the network meeting included best practice sharing between the members in the area of SME promotion as well as a workshop on development of international services to members. The next and last working group meeting of 2015 will be held in Jordan in October.

Training on data analysis in Jordan

10 staff members from Jordan Chamber of Industry and its three regional chambers met for training on data analysis on May 27-28th 2015 in Amman. The workshop was conducted by economist from DI, Nikolaj Pilgaard. Nikolaj has worked a number of years with developing and analysing DI's major member surveys which feed into DI's policy advocacy and member services.

The workshop is the second in a sequence of three and follows the first workshop two months ago in which a survey was designed. While this workshop aims to analyse data from distributed surveys the last workshop in September will be about converting analysis into policy advocacy.

Altogether the three workshops aim at strengthening JCI's ability and capacity to do evidence based policy advocacy which will reinforce its mandate as voice of the Jordanian industry.    

Building relations for economic cooperation and investments

DI is attending the Launching conference of the East Invest 2 programme in Riga, Latvia, with the aim of supporting private sector development through business organisations under the EU Eastern Partnership Program. DI is present to identify partners and develop capacity building project. The projects are funded by the EU.

"DI is engaging in bilateral meetings and cooperation activities with business organisations from Ukraine, Belarus, Asarbajan, Armenia, Moldova and Georgia. Its about exchange of best practises and learning from each other with the goal of enhanced economic cooperation and public private dialogue"
- Deputy Director, Niels Tanderup Kristensen, DI

"Private sector is the most important driver for Development. A strong business Environment is key and business organisations play an important role in engaging economic cooperation and investments" - "all countries should look for investors and create an enabling Environment, countries should welcome investments and not see them as a threat" "regular contacts are key"
- Former Prime minister of Latvia, Mr. Valdis Birkavs

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