The Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) project supported under the COMESA RISM programme has procured equipment worth EURO 320,710 (about 273 million Malawi Kwacha) for the setting up of a leather design studio to be based in the city of Blantyre.
The installation and testing of the equipment is underway as the project simultaneously works to renovate the SMEDI complex, which will house the soon to be launched state of the art design studio.
The Regional Design Studio project will Influence productivity and marketability of African products at the global level. This project will enhance the production and competitiveness of SMEs through the Cooperatives in the Leather and Leather Products.
The leather value chain globally is estimated at more than US$ 100 billion and this figure does not include the finished leather which is used in upholstery for automobiles and household furniture as it cannot be easily ascertained in trade figures and the value it adds to the prices of vehicles and furniture.
Africa holds great potential in developing the sector, on both the supply and demand side of the leather value chain with approximately 26% of the global livestock population and footwear consumption estimated at between 878 million to 1.1 billion pairs per annum.