CBI has started up a new, four-year integrated export development and promotion programme in Ecuador, but with a key difference: the Ecuadorian government is picking up the tab. Erik Plaisier, CBI Senior Programme Manager for Latin America, explains that the changing political priorities in the Netherlands means that CBI doesn’t have the financial resources to continue its work in Ecuador. But funding by the Ecuadorian government has made it possible, allowing CBI to continue exploiting its excellent regional network and the creditability it’s built up over the years.
According to Plaisier the component parts of the programme are similar to other integrated CBI programmes. “However, a major difference is that it will not necessarily focus on Europe but on any market that offers potential for Ecuadorian exporters. For CBI it will entail finding and engaging new experts in these markets.”
In the context of the new programme, Ecuador is looking to diversify exports in three areas. Firstly, it will seek new markets for its traditional exportable offering. Secondly, it will aim to export other kinds of products, such as manufactured goods and those with higher added value. Finally, it will broaden the exporting base amongEcuadorian companies.
Between September 2012 and February this year, CBI carried out an in-depth analysis of the government’s export development and support system.
CBI’s report, complete with its findings and recommendations, was submitted to the Ecuadorian government in February 2013. “Based on our findings we outlined what we think should be done during the coming three years and we submitted our recommendations in April,” says Plaisier.
Potential for success
Plaisier concedes that there’s much to be done. “The Ecuadorian government doesn’t yet have one focused and coherent export strategy and its various ministries and trade support organisations need to better coordinate their activities. ProEcuador, the official export promotion organisation needs to build on its experience and expertise and gain the trust of Ecuadorian companies. “But the potential for success is certainly there. Ecuador has the natural and financial resources to make the necessary investments. It also has positive energy and a government prepared to promote entrepreneurship.”