Chambers of commerce play a pivotal role in the growth of the private sector. To enhance their management and service capabilities so that they can stimulate and foster private sector development, is a cornerstone of WCF’s mission. The exchange of chamber best practice and experience has been beneficial in achieving this goal.
WCF’s capacity building and organization development programmes for chambers of commerce date back several decades, and have been in a variety of formats, including
- Capacity building & education programmes – external and/or in-country consultancies, for chambers from developing countries and transition economies;
- Publishing chamber guidelines & organizing symposiums;
- Facilitating training & cooperation directly between chambers from different regions;
- Organizing the biennial World Chambers Congress and its World Chambers Competition.
The World Chambers Federation has seen that within the changing context of globalization and sustainable human development. chambers can, by learning from their colleagues, identify new methods and ways to support the private sector. WCF works with a variety of international organizations, with similar visions, facilitating mutually beneficial cooperation between these organizations and chambers of commerce at a local level.
- CIPE: The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is a content and programme partner since the 2003 World Chambers Congress, working with WCF on improving governance, transparency and accountability in the public and private sector business organizations; promoting an entrepreneurial culture as well as the role of private sector in policy decisions. CIPE and WCF have published in 2011 “Governance Principles for Chambers and Business Associations”.
- UNDP: Since the 1970s, UNDP and WCF have worked on developing countries programmes designed to address the new roles and services chambers of commerce within the changing context of globalization and sustainable human development. It also identified opportunities for mutually beneficial co-operation between the UN system and chambers of commerce. These joint programmes have included in-country courses as well as provision of support mechanisms for chambers to benefit from the learning platform of the World Chambers Congress.
On 8 September, 2002 UNDP and ICC signed the agreement strengthening private entrepreneurship and chambers of commerce in developing countries, and in countries in transition to a market economy, such as Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- World Bank: Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the World Bank and ICC, one of the MOU’s key resolutions was the strengthening of intermediary business associations. Chambers of commerce from 13 countries now work more closely with local World Bank representative on areas of mutual interest. This collaboration falls under the World Bank’s Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) programme. It emphasizes partnerships among governments, the private sector, and other development agencies.
More recently, WCF has actively worked with the WBG in the establishment of its Network of Private Sector Liaison Officers (PSLO) offices. Many of these are located within chambers.
- UNCTAD International Trade Centre: With a common mission to foster sustainable economic development and contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in developing countries and countries with economies in transition through trade and international business development, ICC WCF and ITC have collaborated on programmes to strengthen chambers of commerce as trade promotion organizations, through building awareness use of trade intelligence and promoting policies that extend the capacities of exporting enterprises.
- Development Banks: Asian Development Bank, CIDA-ACDI (Canadian International Development Agency), InterAmerican Development Bank have all partnered and supported programming within the framework of the World Chambers Congress as a mechanism to its success as an effective capacity building framework for chambers in bringing new methods and ways to support the private sector.