Supporting SMEs in Senegal

Case Study from Invest for Jobs Sénégal / SI Jobs
The professional organisation manager course (responsable organisation professionnelle, ROP) the CGER network offers to its members ⎮ Photo: ©CGER
The seven modules of the course are: ROP1: organisation, functioning; ROP2: management systems; ROP3: planning and programming of activities; ROP4: understanding of financial statements; ROP5: management of campaign credit; ROP6: elaboration and monitoring of the campaign budget; ROP7: profitability of investments.

In Senegal, the recent decision to adopt the cluster approach under the Partenariat pour l’Emploi et le Renforcement des PME needs further alignment with the business ecosystem. To date, this form of facilitation suffers from a lack of reliable economic and technical data.

Despite the efforts developed by UNIDO, USAID and the EU/EDF under the Stratégie de Croissance Accélérée, only a few of the clusters initiated in the 2010–2013 period have subsisted. Many of them turned away from the cluster approach thus acting as fundraisers or professional entities.

However, Senegal uses many different forms of economic sector stimulation: Groupement d’Intérêt Economique, technical platforms, incubators, associations, cooperatives, informal discussion groups, stakeholder platforms, local professional bodies. Therefore, the GIZ/SI Jobs team ran a stakeholder analysis to identify priorities. Around 40 operators, SMEs, GIE and private companies of the farming and agri-business sectors were interviewed. Priority topics mentioned as a key weakness by a clear majority were accounting, financial management, fundraising and relationships with lenders.

Members of a professional organisation delivering bags of rice for self-consumption ⎮© CGER

The network of Centres de Gestion et d’Economie Rurale

From 2003 to 2007, the Société d’Aménagement et d’Exploitation du Delta (SAED) and the Government of Senegal responded to the major challenges of sustaining investments in hydro-agricultural developments (irrigation schemes). It consisted of transferring the management of these schemes to users and cleaning up credit following a policy of disengagement by SAED[1], which had entrusted the operation of the irrigation schemes to professional organizations called Union Hydraulique, which gather several Groupement d’Intérêt Economique or GIE, a popular legal form for SMEs.

Through this process, the Centres de Gestion et d’Economie Rurale (CGER) were created, the objective being the improvement of the technical, financial and accounting management of farm-holdings, agri-businesses and their professional organisations. These services are charged at a price. Each service package comes with a different price, adjusted against the commercial targets. All clients must pay a symbolic subscription to the association.

The institutional model chosen was that of a professional body. The proposed services are of several types and depend on the type of member:

  • Establishment of the start-up situation for new clients
  • Introduction and implementation of management tools and systems, and training of users
  • Routine bookkeeping & accounting journals and bank statement
  • Producing and analysing of periodic financial statements
  • Responding to requests for advice from professional organisations
  • The production of annual accounts
  • Verification of the accounts and the statements produced by professional organisations
  • Verification and compliance with procedures of professional organisations
  • Helping to set up budgetary management and control of implementation
  • Analysing accounts and advising on business choices (royalties, investments, loans, etc.)


The professional organisation manager course (responsable organisation professionnelle, ROP) the CGER network offers to its members ⎮ Photo: ©CGER

About the network

The CGER network was set up in 2004. It was also decided to create an umbrella association, called CGER Vallée, acting as a resource center dedicated to coordination and training, to the production of capitalisation documents, to cost-benefit analysis and benchmarks, as well as to control the quality of the services the network provides to client members.

Currently, the network is made of three branch offices with 34 employees for 600 members client (including 46 hydraulic unions, and 120 private companies excluding POs) for a total turnover of around 165 million FCFA (approx. 251.000 EUR). Although financially supported since its creation, the CGER network has continued to increase its financial autonomy through the invoicing of these services to reach 73% for the 3 departmental CGER (ie CGER Vallée excluded).


SI Jobs has developed a three-pillar approach to supporting the CGER and its members, all acting either on the demand for services or on the supply side.

Firstly from 2021 to 2022, the Ambre/CERFrance/Particip consortium will be responsible for introducing, securing adoption rates and closely assist the CGER network in:

  1. Improving the quality and productivity of current services and enhance the level of expertise of staff members
  2. Supporting the development of a formalized offer of consulting services to agricultural and rural enterprises and to build/strengthen the skill sets required under these professions:
    • Technico-economic advice and benchmarking to individual farmers and/or groups sharing common performance issues
    • Management consulting to professional organizations and farms
    • Business consulting to set up regular follow up on given management advice
    • Guiding entrepreneurs in steering towards their vision and expansion strategy
    • Assistance and guidance in organizational aspects, including aspects of human resource management and formalization of salaried employment
  3. Redefining and develop the training offer for CGER members
  4. Improving and securing the steering and internal management of the CGER network through the implementation of information collection tools, monitoring-evaluation/reporting indicators, the construction of management charts, the implementation of adapted management and organization
  5. Professionalizing governance: boards of directors, commissions, General Assembly, etc.
  6. Supporting the CGER Vallée networking & developing collaborations with private sector support agencies, and thus improve access to domestic support offers
  7. Introducing techniques to measure the impact of CGER on the economy, and thus build advocacy (lobbying) with technical and financial partners.

Secondly, over the same period, the CGER will implement a grant agreement under the supervision of the GIZ with the aim of developing internal capacities, and pursuing the following objectives:

  1. To complete the contractor’s mandate with preliminary studies, awareness sessions, preparation of the contractor’s upstream interventions, etc;
  2. To provide the CGER network with the technical and material resources that will enable a good level of adoption of the skills and know-how provided by the Consortium;
  3. To acquire capabilities for implementing horizontal (i.e. between the CGERs themselves), vertical (from the consulting firms to the 4 CGERs, but also from the CGER Vallée to the departmental CGERs) and functional (towards new departmental CGERs) scaling activities.

Finally, the demand for services. SI Jobs has identified and oversees the implementation of a series of local grant agreements with platforms, GIE, and cooperatives. For these interventions, the priority is usually set on orienting activities according to recent market trends. All of them including financial incentives to purchase advisory services to either the CGER or any other local accounting & financial advisors.

[1] SAED: In the ’80s, following the petrodollar crisis and structural adjustment policies, the World Bank supported the government and SAED to disengage SAED from its production-related activities, and to turn these over to farmers and private enterprises.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!