Chamber Academy to open in three months


The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) is to establish an academy that would excel in business-community leadership and management. The academy is due to be operational in three months’ time.
The chamber, which has the mandate of working towards the capacity building of its members, initiated the idea of establishing an academy in 2005, according to Wube Mengistu, Head of the Plan, Project and Trade Development Department at ECCSA.
The main objective for the establishment of the academy is to enhance leadership, management and entrepreneurship skills among its members and other macro business companies.
The feasibility study had been conducted by instructors and experts of the Business Faculty of Addis Ababa University (AAU) two years ago at a cost of 17,000 birr. The fund was obtained from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), according to Endalkachew Seme, Deputy Secretary General and the Advocacy Department Manager. The courses recommended in the proposal for the academy are association governance, membership development, strategic planning, lobbying and advocacy, designing and developing services, communications and public relations. It was stated that the curriculum will be designed within two months.
The first phase, training of trainers (ToT) which will take 13 days, will start on Wednesday February 6, 2013 by instructors who will arrive from the US. The academy therefore would in effect be operational after three months, since it will utilize facilities the chamber currently has, stated Wube.
Upon becoming operational, the academy will start by training members of ECCSA initially, but will not be limited to it. The training is available to other chambers and associations free of charge for two years for promotional purposes but will eventually require attendees to pay for the courses. 
The Chamber, which provides different services to the business community, including defending the overall rights and benefits of its members, promoting and publicizing products and services of the country, serves as a bridge between the business community and the government. The Chamber hence requires financial, material and expertise supports from different institutions for the realization of the academy. So far, the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), which is a non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, has confirmed that it will support the venture by providing experts to share its expertise.
The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) also provides technical assistance, training and research to member companies to upgrade the quality and increase the volume of economic activities. AACCSA’s training center offers various business trainings to members of the local business community in order to help them acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
The center shall focus on the fields of management, leadership, finance, accounting, taxation, customs law and international trade and will give the courses, either at the training center itself or on the customer’s premises, while clients have the opportunity of determining the duration of the training. 
According to Wube, an overlap or redundancy of trainings with the ones given by AACCSA will not occur, as ECCSA will focus on the areas its members [including AACCSA] are not covering.  “They are familiar with our plan and they are in favor of it,” he said. “In fact, the two chambers are working hand in hand this year.” ECCSA has 176 members which are all chambers and associations.