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Low technology uptake drags SMEs

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Bram Fudzulani

A recent study by the United Nations (UN) has revealed that small and medium enterprises (SMES) continue to face trade facilitation challenges due to low technology uptake.

According to the Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation survey, countries across the globe are moving towards a seamless and efficient trading environment by simplifying and digitalising formalities in international trading.

The survey says this is helping to sustain international trade despite disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic.

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“Trade facilitation is critical for realising the AfCFTA’s objective of increasing intra-African trade flows by lowering bureaucratic delays, red tape, inefficiencies at borders and by improving administrative efficiency through technology,” the report reads.

In an interview, ICT Association of Malawi President Bram Fudzulani attributed the low technology uptake among SMEs in Malawi to high costs, lack of awareness and lack of trust in digital systems, among other factors.

He called on the government to work towards formulating policies that would help lower the cost of accessing technology while calling on private firms to intensify awareness and ensure that their products and services are reliable.

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The Ministry of Industry admitted that technology uptake is low in almost all sectors of the economy.

Ministry of Industry spokesperson Yamikani Kadzakumanja said the government has put in place systematic measures to increase the uptake.

“Soon we will be having export promotion week where we are targeting SMEs to inform them on procedures and we also have the trade portal where any business can transact digitally, among many others,” he said.

According to a 2020 fourth quarter National Payment Systems Report by the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the overall volume of transactions processed in all payment streams was seen at 151.3 million and corresponding total value of transactions was at K17.7 trillion.

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