By Richard Chirombo:
Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister, Henry Mussa, said this during the launch of a Leather Design Studio at Chatha and Textiles and Garments Incubation Centre at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre.
He said the Best Buy Malawi initiative may not bear fruit if MSMEs are not supported.
“The government is committed to the promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises. At the moment, we are doing reforms because we understand that the economy is, to a large extent, run by micro, small and medium enterprises,” Mussa said.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) President, Prince Kapondamgaga, said the facility would address both production enhancement and intra-regional trade issues in a pragmatic and practical way.
The Textiles and Garments Incubation Centre is a project MCCCI is implementing while the Leather Design Studio is a project being implemented jointly with the Leather Industries Association of Malawi under the supervision of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute.
“I would like to thank the Government of Malawi for demonstrating commitment to resuscitate industrialisation efforts in Malawi by recognising the role of micro, small and medium enterprises in value addition. MSMEs are the primary beneficiaries of these two interventions,” he said.
MCCCI has benefitted from resources the government accessed from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretariat through the Technical Cooperation Facility of the European Union (EU) to implement a Cluster Project in the Textiles and Garments Sector in 2015.
The main objective of the initiative is to enhance competiveness of MSMEs through sector cluster development, which has potential to create supply and demand for a regional sector value chain.
In this context, one of the interventions of the cluster project was the establishment of the Textiles and Garments Incubation Centre which the government, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, entrusted MCCCI to implement.
Kapondamgaga added that the launched facilities would expose players in the industry to corporate governance principles.
“Malawi, just like other countries in the region, has experienced the trekking of a high percentage of somewhat inexperienced individuals into starting businesses. These individuals start businesses generally because of lack of formal jobs on the labour market. As such, the majority of them lack exposure to formal sector corporate governance in a significant way and therefore odds work against them especially in a hostile business environment in which we find ourselves,” he said.
EU Team Leader for Economic, Trade and Governance, Jose Maria Medina Navarro, said his organisation was committed to promoting a win-win situation with Africa.