The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) Business Council CBC has signed an agreement with two continental firms aimed at enhancing trade among member states.
The firms are Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) and the AeTrade Group.
In a statement issued on Monday, Comesa says the entities will advance interests and concerns of business, cooperating on matters related to technical skills development, digital business facilitation, trade partnerships and private sector development.
The three institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the side lines of the 33rd African Union ordinary session summit.
The summit is held under the theme, ‘Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.’
“This partnership is a real opportunity to transform the region’s socioeconomic landscape, strengthening industries and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) through financial inclusion, business linkages and facilitation of market access,” Comesa CBC Chairperson, Marday Venketasamy says.
Comesa CBC and ALLPI in collaboration with the AeTrade Group will further explore and implement as appropriate, actions that support solutions to some of Africa’s trade and economic challenges.
These are identified as priorities in line with the implementation of the Agreement on AfCFTA, with a specific focus on the master plan of the African Union Strategy on Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
Spokesperson in the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, Mayeso Msokera, said the pact is timely.
“ We look forward to joining hands with AeTrade in undertaking e-trade reforms in Malawi,” Msokera said.
The policy reform areas include, E-commerce readiness assessment and strategy formulation, ICT infrastructure and services, Trade logistics and trade facilitation, Payment solutions, Legal and regulatory frameworks, Skills development for e-commerce, and Access to financing.
The cooperation will concentrate on, among others, establishment and consolidation of regional electronic trade, and development of sustainable efforts in the areas of fair and transparent business models and practices.
The collaboration between the three institutions is in response to low levels of intra-Africa trade, and will provide an opportunity to empower and support small and medium enterprises across the continent so that they can take full advantage of the AfCFTA and its opportunities in the digital market.