India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral – Small Enterprise Development and Trade Initiatives
The IBSA Background
IBSA is a trilateral, developmental initiative between India, Brazil and South Africa to promote South-South cooperation and exchange. The Group was created in June 2003 at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs with the signing of the Brasilia Declaration and was formally launched by Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Lula da Silva and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the UN General Assembly in September 2003. The main objectives of the agreement is to promote South-South Cooperation and dialogue in order to achieve common positions on issues of international importance , to explore trade and investment opportunities, to promote international poverty alleviation and social development, exchange of information, technologies and skills, as well as to compliment each others’ competitive strengths into collective synergies.
IBSA has became an instrumental institution for promoting closer coordination on global issues between three large multicultural and multiracial democracies of Asia, South America and Africa, and contributed to enhancing trilateral India-Brazil-South Africa cooperation in sector areas namely agriculture, climate change, culture, defence, education, energy, health, information society, science and technology, social development, trade and investment, tourism and transport. The IBSA Dialogue Forum has regular consultations at Senior Official (Focal Point), Ministerial (Trilateral Joint Commission) and Heads of State and/or Government (Summit) levels, and facilitates interaction amongst academics, business and other members of civil society.
In 2003, IBSA created the IBSA Fund for Poverty Alleviation, the first initiative of cooperation for development in the basis of trilateral South-South cooperation. The IBSA FUND has projects in Haiti, Guinea Bissau and in Laos (in phase of implementation) coordinated by the South-South Unit of the UNDP.
IBSA Small Enterprise Development Initiatives
One of the important and strategic milestones of IBSA is the cooperation of small enterprise support agencies and the small enterprises themselves. SMEs not only contribute a substantial proportion of industrial output, employment and exports, but they are breeding grounds for entrepreneurship. The three countries have very substantial experience in small enterprise support and development. Exchange of these experiences in the promotion of SMEs and micro enterprises is poised to have profound development implications.
The IBSA small enterprise development initiatives bring together the small-scale industry and small enterprise promotion agencies and SME Associations, to establish cooperation, learn from each other’s experience and share information and technology.
South Africa’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Brazil’s Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro (SEBRAE), and India’s National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) have made significant strides in promoting small enterprise development and trade initiatives amongst the three nations. The initiatives are exposing the small enterprise support agencies and small enterprises themselves to international best practice in small enterprise support, and providing a platform for meaningful business linkages and trade.
Since 2005, the three IBSA small enterprise development and support agencies have annually held a tri-nations summit for small business development. The objective of the summits is to enhance co-operation between India, Brazil and South Africa in the field of small industries/enterprises development and support. The tri-nations summits provide a platform for creating synergies between the complementary strengths of the three institutions. The synergies not only improve the competitiveness of small enterprises but also enable them to enhance their participation in global markets and to meet the global challenges.