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Traders explore bulk exporting

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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) involved in cross border trade are contemplating on mobilising their products and exporting in bulk to maintain trading amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This follows revelations that their counterparts in the great lakes region are doing the same.

An e-Comesa newsletter published on Monday indicates that SMEs in DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, led by the Cross-Border Traders’ Associations (CBTA), are employing a new concept of bulk-buying.

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It involves packaging similar goods from either side of the borders and jointly moving them across.

“Once the goods arrive, the traders share them out and proceed with trading at their different points of sale. For this innovation to succeed, a lot of goodwill and trade policy support is required from the respective governments,” reads the newsletter in part.

Cross-Border Traders’ Associations of Malawi president, Esther Tchukambiri, said it is a good initiative as currently most traders are out of business for lack of stocks.

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“Individually, people are able to order stocks online but we have not tried exporting in bulk. We want to explore the concept we are just waiting to hear from the government because they were involved in meetings under Comesa. Once that has been cleared, we will explore bulk exporting,” Tchukambiri said.

In a separate interview, of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Chairperson, William Mwale, said the idea is good but risky.

“It is good but highly risky, I know some women from Blantyre and in the civil service are doing the same to trading partners in Tanzania and Zambia and even South Africa, in Lilongwe they are trading mostly with Zambia using some trustworthy transporters but the gains are very little,” Mwale said.

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