Mauritania. First SME Fair
22-12-2021 | di COOPI

Mauritania. First SME Fair

In Mauritania, in Bassikounou, COOPI - Cooperazione Internazionale organised the first Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Product Fair from 17 to 20 December 2021, thus bringing together 24 selected SMEs in four municipalities, in addition to those of Mbera, for a total of 72 participants. The Administrative Authorities (Hakem or Prefect and the mayors of the four municipalities), the partner UNHCR and other partners (NGOs and decentralised state services) also took part in the Fair.

In the framework of the «Assistance Project for Malian Refugees in Mauritania - Year 2021», implemented in partnership with UNHCR, the Fair aimed to enhance the value of the products of SMEs, to strengthen the capacities and skills of the participants on the quality standards of production through the exchange of experiences, in order to create a synergy of sale and/or supply of commodities between the different SMEs and, finally, to strengthen social cohesion and coexistence between communities or ethnic groups.

COOPI Project Manager, Hervé Yangani, explains:

"The fair generated appreciation from all the participants, especially the authorities, because it was the first one to be organised. Hence the recommendation of the authorities in repeating it every three months to further strengthen links between ethnic groups."

Since March 2019, with the «Assistance Project for Malian Refugees in Mauritania - Year 2021» COOPI acts through economic empowerment actions in favour of refugees in the Mbera camp. The action carried out between July and December 2021 targeted the host populations and refugees in order to help strengthen their resilience and improve peaceful coexistence between communities.

During this period, COOPI provided diversified support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) mainly in:

  • Capacity building in "Managing My Enterprise Better" (GERME);
  • Awareness raising on financial management and access to micro-credit;
  • Technical training in smoking, handicrafts, soap making, sewing and wire mesh making;
  • Carrying out visits to exchange experiences between different types of SMEs;
  • Cash grants to 188 SMEs, including 1 in Nouakchott.

Repeats the Project Manager:

"Crucial to the success of the initiative was the inclusive approach towards all project stakeholders, including partners, beneficiaries and local authorities".

The primary sector, which includes small trade, sewing, animal breeding, handicrafts and other areas, was the most affected by the project. 188 SMEs were supported by COOPI and UNHCR in both the municipalities and Mbera camp in the second half of 2021. 

Since 2019, COOPI has been contributing to the economic empowerment of refugees and the host population by offering competitive goods and services, creating sustainable jobs and improving the technical capacity of producers through value chain development at different levels.