Exporting Black Country expertise

For nearly 40 years, a team from the Black Country has been taking its expertise to developing countries across Africa and Asia in order to help these populations achieve their desire for people-centred, sustainable development.

The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), based within the University of Wolverhampton, has earned an excellent international reputation for its activities. Amongst the many international projects it supports, CIDT is currently delivering programmes in partnership with the World Trade Organization and the British Council.

Representatives from Nepal’s private sector, government representatives and NGOs recently benefited from an intensive four-day training programme supported by the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Least Developed Countries, an agency of the World Trade Organization, to train them in essential project skills which will help them effect positive change in their regions. The trainees developed four ‘live’ projects, concentrating on either trade capacity or plant and animal health standards in order to learn how to construct robust project proposals.

The training not only resulted in four viable projects – all of which will be submitted for international donor funding – but more importantly, provided skills which delegates can apply in the future for constructing other projects. The training programme will be repeated in three African countries later this year.

The desire to build capacity in some of the world’s least developed countries was also a theme of CIDT’s current programme in sub-Saharan Africa. Extensive experience gained from working with, and developing enterprises in the Black Country has found new relevance in Africa’s Copperbelt Province.

The University of Wolverhampton and the Copperbelt University, Zambia have just completed an 18 month project funded by the British Council.

The partnership draws on the similarities between the Copperbelt Province and the Black Country conurbations – a set of cities linked by a common economic trajectory based on a historical dependence on mining and heavy industry. The project seeks to improve economic conditions by promoting economic development and strengthening entrepreneurship, imperatives which are as relevant in sub-Saharan African as they are to the Black Country.