The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) will work together to build the capacity of agribusiness value chains in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and help them increase value addition. A partnership agreement was signed in Vienna Thursday by LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, and Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association and the Process Plant and Equipment Association within the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). VDMA represents over 3,100 mainly small and medium-sized enterprises in the engineering industry, and is the largest engineering industry network in Europe. \"Firms in agribusiness value chains in developing countries and countries with economies in transition require support to upgrade and enhance compliance with market requirements to develop and take advantage of business opportunities in domestic and export markets,\" said Director General LI. \"Our strategic partnership with the VDMA will help promote technical dialogue and joint pilot activities. It will also contribute to the achievement of the goals and targets of the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the promotion of economic and social development in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.\" The partnership between UNIDO and VDMA will focus on developing and extending the skill-base necessary for the provision, acquisition and effective deployment of technology and methodology in agribusiness value chains, with particular emphasis on the establishment of operational and capacity-building maintenance centres of excellence in Africa. Such centres in selected locations in Africa will assist in developing a culture of maintenance as a strategic prerequisite to industrialization and the enabling of agricultural value chains. They will also provide maintenance services for key categories of equipment used in agribusiness, including from production to processing, transportation, warehousing, energy and irrigation. They will operate as trade schools to train and certify people in the relevant technical skills and in maintenance management. \"Without technology it will not be possible to supply the increasing population with food and drink. This holds in particular true for Africa. The contribution of VDMA to this partnership is providing technology and state-of-the-art know-how of the machinery manufacturers in order to support the centres of excellence for education, maintenance and repair of equipment,\" said VDMA Managing Director Richard Clemens. \"Our aim is to establish a widely recognized training in line with the current technical practice. The leadership of German machinery manufacturers in technology and service will ensure the high quality level of this centre of excellence.\" Clemens added that he had already started looking into prospective locations for the centres of excellence for maintenance and repairing of equipment in Africa, and had visited personally or had sent VDMA officials to Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. In June 2013, he led a group of senior managers from 18 German manufacturing firms on a mission to Kenya.