About CBI

We are the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI). Our mission is to support the transition towards inclusive and sustainable economies. We strengthen the social, economic and environmental sustainability of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. We do this by connecting SMEs to European and regional markets.

In doing so, we:

  • Promote and create decent jobs. We pay special attention to women and youth. We support women entrepreneurs and encourage women to take on management positions.
  • Stimulate sustainable production and trade. 

We also work on well-functioning support services, facilitating rules and regulations, and effective sector alignment. These are essential for the success of SMEs.

Priority Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) themes in our projects are decent work, gender, youth and climate.

We contribute directly to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):


Our background

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs established CBI in 1971. We have more than 50 years of experience contributing to local, sustainable economic development through exports. We have worked with over 10,000 SMEs from 70 countries, connecting them to buyers or partners in the European market. We have also worked with over 250 business support organisations. As such, we know how to achieve sustainable, long-term change at the sector level. We have a far-reaching, unique network of international experts that we can involve in our projects.

We are part of the Netherlands Enterprise AgencyThe Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds CBI.

Our approach

In our work, we use a systems approach; we recognise that unsustainable practices are often the result of complex systems. By supporting sustainability transitions, we aim to address the primary causes of problems in existing systems. Addressing these problems requires collaboration with partners. That is why we develop and carry out projects in close cooperation with local and international stakeholders, partner organisations and other Dutch government-funded programmes. We also work more and more often with local experts. In our projects, we contribute by:

  • Raising awareness about opportunities for the export of sustainable products and services to European and regional markets;
  • Building the capacity of SMEs and service providers in the ecosystem of SMEs;
  • Providing knowledge on markets and their requirements via our market information platform;
  • Providing support to address CSR-related risks and opportunities. This includes (self)-assessments and the development and implementation of action plans and codes of conduct at the SME level;
  • Supporting sector and value chain links, including linkages and matchmaking with market players; and
  • Promoting the use of sustainable technologies and management practices to help minimise the impact on the environment.

Watch our video to find out more.

Where we work

We work in over 23 countries in 14 sectors.

Work for us

Are you interested in working for us? Check our consultancy assignments page or visit RVO.nl (in Dutch) for our job vacancies.

Contact us

Would you like more information? Please contact us.

Our Partners

We collaborate with numerous partners worldwide. Our specific project partnerships are listed on the CBI project pages. Partners within the TRIC (Trade Related Instruments Connected) partnership include:  

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