23 January 2009

Re-issued as received

Italy Contributes €3 Million to SME Cluster Development in Vietnam

VIENNA, 23 January (UN Information Service) -The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) of Vietnam, the Embassy of Italy, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) signed a technical assistance project entitled "SME Cluster Development". The project has a total budget of €3 million and builds on achievements recorded in a recently completed MPI-UNIDO project on "Assistance to Establish the National and Provincial SME Support Infrastructure". This was jointly financed by Finland, Italy and Norway. The objective of the project is to develop the capacity of industry associations and SMEs in three pilot industrial sectors in partnership with Italian industry associations and SMEs.

Mr. Truong Van Doan, Vice Minister of MPI said, "Development of SME clusters will help Vietnamese SMEs to enhance their competitiveness in domestic, regional and global markets. This project will help the Enterprise Development Agency (EDA) under MPI and selected industry associations to draw lessons from the successful experiences of Italy and UNIDO in SME Cluster Development. The project is also an important step towards the implementation of a number of measures under the SME Development Plan 2006-2010, promulgated by the Prime Minister in Decision 236/2006/QD-TTg on 23 October 2006."

Mr. Andrea Perugini, Ambassador of Italy indicated, "Italy appreciates the steps taken by the Vietnamese Government in private sector development, with particular focus on SMEs. SME clusters and enterprise networks are renowned the world over for being the driving force behind Italy's economy. Our experience also provides clear evidence on the pivotal role industry associations can play in facilitating SMEs to act collectively to improve their competitiveness. With the assistance provided by this project, the partnerships to be established between Italian and Vietnamese industry associations and Italian and Vietnamese SMEs will further the excellent technical and commercial cooperation that exists between our countries and yield mutually beneficial outcomes."

Ms. Nilgün Taş, UNIDO Representative pointed out that, "SME clusters (a sectoral and geographical concentration of enterprises which produce and sell a range of related and/or complementary products) and enterprise networks (a group of small and medium-sized firms that cooperate on a joint development project, complementing each other and specializing in order to overcome common problems) help SMEs achieve collective efficiencies and conquer markets beyond their individual reach. UNIDO's competence in the field of SME cluster development is well established. And, its Cluster Development Programme currently under way in Latin America, Asia, and Africa has yielded very successful results."

The project will be implemented under the UN's "One Plan", a joint action programme between the Government and all 14 resident UN organizations in Vietnam.

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For further information, please contact:

Carlo Cibo
Head Italian Cooperation, Vietnam Country Office
Telephone: (+844-37) 18 46 61
Email: carlo.cibo@esteri.it

Nilgün F. Taş
Representative United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Vietnam Country Office
Telephone: (+844-38) 22 44 90
Fax: (+844-39) 42 24 84
Email: n.tas@unido.org

Nguyen Van Trung
Director General, Enterprise Development Agency
Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)
Fax: (+844-37) 34 21 89