By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Malawi is expected to receive funds amounting to €920,767 [approximately K800 million] from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) for the implementation of activities under Phase III of the Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (Mepe) Project.
The project is expected to run from June to November 2019.
This follows the signing of an agreement between the government— through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism— and the block at the weekend.
The resources will be provided through the European Development Fund under the Comesa Regional Integration Support Mechanism Programme.
Spokesperson in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Mayeso Msokera, said implementation of the activities was expected to set cooperatives and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the targeted sectors on a path to build their competitiveness and sustainability.
He said these would, in turn, generate rapid output growth and foster employment creation, profitability and intra-trade expansion.
“Among other things, the project will enhance procurement, installation and commissioning of equipment and machinery for the leather, textiles and edible oils cooperatives and SMEs and train cooperatives’ leadership in corporate governance.
“…It will further train members and management of the cooperatives and SMEs on national and international standards and facilitate the piloting of the joint procurement, production and marketing actions among the cooperatives in the targeted sectors in order to enhance their ability to meet the minimum economic order quantities required by both the public and private sector institutions,” he said.
According to Comesa, the project will enhance the production capacities, market access and competitiveness of SMEs and cooperatives in the edible oil products, leather and leather products, textiles and garments value chains, which is expected to lead to increased local, regional and international trade.
It further indicates that, specifically, the third phase of Mepe Project will focus on strengthening the software and hardware capacities of SME clusters, cooperatives and associations to unleash value from the machinery, equipment and skills that were provided under the previous two phases.
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