Photograph — International business times

The World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME) is a global non-profit organisation, headquartered at Noida, India. In December 2016, WASME held its annual conference. The event brought policy makers, industry experts, academics, entrepreneurs, United Nations and multinational agencies on a single platform.

The annual meeting held in India marked the 15th session of the global body. During the meeting, an election took place where four Nigerians emerged victorious and were elected into the governing body of the council for the 2016-2018 tenure.

Alhaji Babale Umaru Girei emerged President while Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, Dr Ahmed M. Mohammed and Mr Ebiekure Jasper Eradiri were all elected members of the governing board.

Alhaji Babale Umar Girei is a former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank limited (NACRDB) now the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) of Nigeria. The current Chairman of Standard Micro Finance Bank limited in Nigeria will head the WASME until 2018. Girei holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a diploma in Commercial Accounting. Alhaji started his career in development banking and finance. He has attended a number of International programs at the Institute of Management Development, Kellogg School of Management and Harvard Business School.

Radda, a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. Obtained two master’s degree in Agricultural Extension and in International Affairs and Diplomacy and doctor of philosophy in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, all from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The former teacher, banker, local government chairman and chief of staff of the governor of Katsina State. Mr Radda was appointed, the director-general of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria in 2016 by the President Buhari Led administration.

Dr Ahmed M. Mohammed, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (FIMC), started his career with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, as an officer performing commercial banking activities and later joined NNDC as a manager, in the operations Directorate now Investment Supervision Directorate where he later rose to the position of GMD. Mohammed served as the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry between 2003 and 2005 and was later transferred to head the Ministry of Works and Transport between 2005 and 2007 in Bauchi State. He is a graduate of Accountancy from University of Maiduguri and also, Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He later proceeded to the University of Huddersfield to obtain a master’s in Accounting and Finance

Mr Ebiekure Jasper Eradiri is the present Director-General of the Bayelsa State Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency. After the election, Eradiri said his membership will afford him the opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas with experts from other parts of the world and such interactions will impact positively on the current efforts of the Bayelsa State Government to develop and encourage medium and small enterprise.

The governing body’s role is to manage, administer, direct and control the affairs of the organization. To be precise, the association articulates the concerns and interest of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) at various regional, national and international levels.

Also, Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) is a member of the association, the membership will grant BOI access to all facilities of WASME including the right to participate in its activities, national, regional and international programs, receive publications, circulars, literature, documents and so on. Other members include All India Management Association, All India Association of Industries, Bank of Baroda, Competent Crimping Machinery PVT. Limited, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Grand Tech Alliance PVT. Limited, Metropolitan Consulting and Radius.

The non-governmental organisation plays a catalytic role in setting up Small and Medium Enterprises in different countries by facilitating linkage support, networking, setting up an industrial unit, registration, and taxation.

However, the participation of Nigerians on the WASME board will put the country in a far more advantageous position in the comity of countries that are in the forefront of promoting and developing medium and small enterprise businesses.

WASME is the only international non-governmental organization of SMEs enjoying consultative or observer status. The global body has ties with various United Nations organization which include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World Customs Organisation, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Commission on International Trade Laws (UNCITRAL), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

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