Annual Report CBI 2022

Total employment supported

In 2022, the companies we supported provided 26,587 FTE jobs. This is a slight decrease compared to the number of FTE jobs in 2021. This decrease is due to the smaller groups of frontrunner SMEs we work with in some of our new projects.

Women in employment – Men in employment

Within our projects, we try to support and increase job opportunities for women. In 2022, women were employed in 54% of the jobs at SMEs we support. This is exactly half of the total FTEs we supported. Also, 27% of the SMEs we supported were led by women entrepreneurs. We continue to strive for gender awareness in our projects.

Jobs for youth

Some of our projects aim to promote youth employment. And others emphasise decent jobs and more opportunities for youth. In 2022, youths were employed in 39% of the total direct jobs our projects supported. This is 10% more than in 2021. Of the total FTEs we supported, youth employment represented 34%. One reason for this is the increase in seasonal jobs that youths held, especially in the agricultural sector. Of the SMEs we supported, 11% were led by youth entrepreneurs.

CBI helps cocoa farmers in Sierra Leone improve their production and export

Civil wars have affected the cocoa industry in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Via the Cocoa Mano River Union project, CBI wanted to develop an inclusive and sustainable cocoa value chain in these countries. In Sierra Leone, CBI supported the distribution company, Village Hope. Village Hope helps local farmers improve their cocoa bean production.

CBI helped Village Hope support local farmers. And the improved quality of the cocoa beans has already attracted the Dutch company Chocolatemakers. "CBI gave us the confidence to work with Village Hope," says Rodney Nikkels, the founder of Chocolatemakers. "With CBI involved, we know that the farmers will be paid well and that no child labour is involved. This collaboration ensures the high-quality cocoa we need for our chocolate. Hopefully, this will get Sierra Leone back in the spotlight as a cocoa-producing country."

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Total SMEs supported

CBI supported 449 companies in 2022, digitally and locally. The digital and local approaches complement each other well. Local involvement helped build stronger relationships and strengthen our approach towards sustainability. In 2022, we helped 108 companies achieve sustainability certifications. We also helped 135 companies finalise their export marketing plans.

Total exports

CBI focuses on strengthening the economic, social and environmental sustainability of SMEs that export value-added products and services to European and regional markets. In 2022, the companies we supported achieved a total export value of 513 million euros. Sustainable products and services accounted for more than one-third of this export value. Tourism sector exports are increasing and returning to their level before the COVID-19 pandemic. The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and increasing inflation have affected some companies.


In 2022, our portfolio included 42 projects. We added 6 new projects to our portfolio and completed 6 projects. 24 of our projects focused on agriculture, 7 on services (tourism and outsourcing), 10 on consumer goods (apparel, home decoration and home textiles), and 1 project had a multi-sector approach. We are currently carrying out projects in East Africa, West Africa and the Sahel, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia. 4 of the projects we completed in 2022 were in Central America.

CBI helps Jordanian fresh fruit and vegetable producers enter new markets

Jordan produces large volumes of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables. And the sector has considerable growth potential. Via the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Jordan project, CBI contributes to improving the Jordanian fresh fruit and vegetable value chain by introducing water-saving technologies, for example. CBI also helps improve farms' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conditions. Sarah Farms is one of the companies participating in the CBI project. Thanks to the constant climate in the Jordan Valley, the company produces high-quality grapes, pomegranates and dates. Before the CBI project, Sarah Farms only sold its products at the local market. But with the help of CBI, it now ships its goods to new markets. CBI also helped Sarah Farms get the Global G.A.P. certificate, which ensures safe and sustainable agriculture. This gives the company a competitive advantage in Amman and export markets.

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Export-enabling environment partners

We collaborate with business support organisations (BSOs) and other partners to achieve more sustainable and inclusive sectors. Partners include governments, trade promotion organisations, export promotion agencies and sector associations.

Market Information

In 2022, we published 231 market information studies on the CBI website, reaching 1.7 million page views. 86% of readers stated that the market information studies were useful for their businesses. New studies focused on social certificates, the impact of the war in Ukraine, sustainable export, niche markets, and more.


In 2022, CBI developed a new climate approach. This approach ensures that we consider our impact on the climate in our projects. We reduce CO2 emissions where necessary and possible. We also organise activities to address sustainability and the climate. For example, we organise training sessions on climate awareness. We also provide coaching and support on circularity and reducing energy or water use. The changes we have made contribute to the sustainability transition that CBI aims to achieve.