Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB)- RETA 7521: Strengthening Local Chambers of Commerce and Industry along the East-West Economic Corridor to Promote Trade, Investment and Value Chains conducted a five-day regional training course on Capacity Development for Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCI) and Business Associations (BA) along East West Economic Corridor (EWEC) from 6 to 10 December 2010 for forty executive members and staff of CCIs, Business Associations and government officials in government department whose work is directly involved with trade and investment activities of Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.   

The course aims at developing the capacity of industry associations, trade promotion agencies and chambers of commerce and industries in understanding the role of their organization in the light of developments taking place globally and thereafter exposes them to various issues and strategies involved in trade and investment promotion activities.

The training course was designed and delivered using modular training approach where participants went through three progressive stages : i) Learn to Do training on concepts, techniques and tools to be employed; ii) Do to Learn the participants were required to apply what they learned in their work assignments with proper coaching from assigned advisers; and iii) Share to Learn the participants had opportunity to present the results of their group work, learning experiences and lessons learned.

Four resource persons were invited to deliver lectures and facilitate discussions, and share experiences to the participants, as well as, to enhance the participants understanding of the program contents and to apply the principles, process, structure, and stakeholders in planning and implementing trade from the learning program.

The training course comprised of four inter-related modules. Module 1- Trade and investment Promotion -Role of CCI gave an understanding of the role and functions of CCI and management information systems. Module 2 -Integration of SMEs of EWEC in Global Value Chain covered the concepts of inter-SME trade and regional and global value chains (RVC/GVC) and supply chains- related trade facilitation. Module 3 -Business Networking with SMEs in EWEC and tools and methods for developing business clusters and networks. Module 4- Trade and Investment promotion Strategies enhanced the participants understanding on effective trade fair management, management information systems, the need and importance of trade fairs and Steps for Planning a Trade Event, management practices and promotion.

The feedback gathered from the participants confirmed that the resource persons and facilitators were qualified, experienced and able to explain difficult content topic in clear and simple term. The evaluation results demonstrated that the learning program successfully attained its objectives. The results from a range of evaluation methods showed high satisfaction rating by the participants. However, recommendations for improvement included providing field visit.

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