The diversity of their rich natural resources bears the hallmarks of a fulfilling base and portends well for advancing the promotion of SMEs with broad-based and significant development effects. But there are fundamental and unchallengeable conditions to be satisfied for SMEs to sustainably bring development.
One of the most important steps would be a purpose-built institute to be charged with the vital responsibility of overseeing the growth, spatial spread, diversification and development of SMEs.
More concretely, the institute’s mandate would need to include some functional roles. It would need to represent SMEs at national and regional level forums for planning and budgetary provision and oversee the start-up, growth, diversification and expansion of SMEs.
It would also need to mobilise resources from public and private sources for start-ups and ongoing SMEs, as well as monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of their utilisation and in the maintenance of quality in the production of goods and services.
Such an institute would also be tasked with organising training in managerial skills, financial management, bookkeeping and material management. Closely related to this would be assisting in identifying areas of production with backward and forward linkages and overseeing inter-sectoral coordination for promoting SMEs.
No less important a task for such an institute is conducting research and development in the areas of market opportunity, product design, innovation and development as well as in systems design. Assisting in setting up quality control systems for products and in establishing efficient process design and plant layout will also help the SMEs achieve their dreams.