I recently spoke to an experienced manager and author of a Dutch book whose title, freely translated, is “More with less”. He’s convinced that public organisations like CBI could achieve more for their clients with less resources. Inspired by his conviction, and the possibility he could be right, I’ll take you through a challenging organisational development phase that CBI is currently undergoing.
For over 40 years CBI has innovated and adapted to an ever-changing trade environment, reconciling market mechanisms and development cooperation objectives. But can a reliable partner be expected to do more across the board, with less resources, in difficult times? Well, in 2012, CBI pushed through an organisational change aimed at creating more effect for substantial savings. More with less.
Export development is impossible without cooperation between the public and private sectors. For many years CBI has brought together public and private parties in developing countries and in the Netherlands and Europe, boosting exports to the latter two. The fact that CBI adds value in the area of aid and trade is amply underscored by requests for CBI to ramp up its direct contributions to the WTO’s Aid for Trade agenda. Yes, you read that correctly; in times when resources are at a premium there’s more international demand for the type of added value CBI provides. More with less.
Earlier this year the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation presented her new agenda for aid, trade and investment, which focuses on how aid and trade affect one another. The Netherlands wants to move forward in the world and with the world. We are moved by global issues, but disappointing economic growth at home and in Europe makes it difficult to help. Minister Ploumen ’s agenda has forced CBI to adjust its ambitions. This, and the justification of our instruments and resources, can be read in our recent CBI business case 2014 – 2018. More with less.
Our integration with the implementation agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EA) is ongoing. This past year many of our business processes have been integrated with those of this agency and cooperation has led to synergies and cohesion. In 2014 CBI will consolidate its expertise and skills by retaining certain CBI employees while creating a new influx of expertise and experience from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FA). The aim is to transfer CBI from FA to EA by 1 January 2015, at the latest. In a nutshell: safeguarding knowledge, skills and experience while retaining CBI as an entity, with the available resources. More with less.
Driven by these challenging developments, CBI is ready to take the next step in exerting its influence in that place where aid meets trade. The author of that book called it a performance breakthrough; he’s right!