Within a project sponsored by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), MAS held at its headquarters, a seven-day seminar (September 22-30, 2013) on MSME Clusters. In addition to lectures, the seminar involved field visits to MSMEs in cooperation with the Palestinian Federation of Industries.
During the program, participants discussed theories and methods of building productive clusters of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Along the way, the seminar studied successful Indian and international models and the best strategies for building clusters and developing cluster-based development initiatives so as to build the capacity of Palestinian experts working on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, the seminar aimed to familiarize participants with successful international experiences and to encourage the private sector to develop such projects in Palestine, particularly in the industrial sector.
Twenty senior officials/experts (from the public, private and civil sectors) whose jobs/businesses are closely related to the Palestinian development planning efforts took part in the training exercises. Some of them have, in fact, engaged in setting up industrial clusters. This has built momentum for the seminar and enabled productive discussion of the challenges MSMEs face. Official participation involved representatives from the Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Telecommunications and IT, the Municipality of Nablus, and the Municipality of Hebron. The seminar was also attended by representatives of trade unions (industrial, trade, paper, metals and stone) and leaders from the private and civil sectors. The seminar was given by the New Delhi-based Foundation for MSME Clusters (FMC), one of the world's leading training institutions founded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.