This was done as part of the new initiatives of the Secretariat to promote value addition by supporting the formation of national and regional clusters in agro processing, clothing and footwear subsectors. Ultimately the goal is to boost job creation, intra-regional trade, and poverty alleviation. The SMEs in the region are constrained by inadequate business management skills, so the cluster training initiative seeks to address issues of record keeping, business planning, marketing, and cost and price evaluations, among others.
The trainees described the pragmatic and practical experience, which was trainer-led and trainee-centred, as one beyond their expectation. A total of 62 entrepreneurs drawn from three clusters in Zambia, were trained.
The pilot training targeted entrepreneurs from the lower levels of the socio-economic class. That is because these are at the moment delinked from the support of various financial institutions yet they have the potential to transform the economies of COMESA in a significant manner.
The Secretariat seeks to promote value addition in sectors such as agriculture, industry and services, which are dominated by SMEs. The cluster initiative puts the private sector at the centre of development, and it has been identified as an effective strategy towards the promotion of the pro-poor agenda.
Workshop: Strengthening National Capacities to Increase Finance and Investments into Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Opportunities from Climate Change Financing Mechanisms.
Organizers: COMESA; EAC; SADC; and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Participants: Government representatives from Botswana, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia,Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda; private sector leaders; develop agency workers; and civil society representatives.
When: 23-27 July 2012.
Where: Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, Kenya.