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Blantyre, Tuesday, March 28, 2017:  Small and Medium Enterprises dealing in textiles in Malawi have received equipment worth 92,000 euros from COMESA in a program aimed at supporting the local leather value chains.

The equipment which comprised of various industrial sewing machines are intended to raise the productive capacity of the targeted SMEs by over 50 percent. The current level of production is estimated at 46,800 pieces of garments and clothing materials per year for Blantyre and Lilongwe textiles cooperatives.

Malawi Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Hon. Joseph Mwanamveka received the equipment from COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya and later passed them over to the sector players in Blantyre and Lilongwe including the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA).

The project seeks to enhance the capacities of cooperatives in the whole of Malawi region, with cooperatives in Salima, Phalombe, Madisi and Lilongwe.

The Secretary General encouraged the beneficiaries to consistently seek to enhance production through the use of efficient and modern technologies to make their goods and services competitive in the regional and global markets.

“Think beyond the borders of Malawi, and make use of the COMESA market of 19 countries for both production linkages and demand opportunities,” Ngwenya said.

Minister Mwanamveka said with improved capacity, locally-owned SMEs and cooperatives can now supply customers’ requirements within the country as well as in the COMESA region.

The programme to support the leather and textiles sectors in Malawi is implemented through the Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) project under the COMESA Adjustment Facility (CAF) with total a budget of 1.5 million Euros. The COMESA CAF is funded by the European Union through the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM).