The COMESA Business Council (CBC) and Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) have joined forces with AeTrade Group to advance intra-Africa trade. This will be done through cooperation on matters of digital business facilitation, technical skills development, trade partnerships and private sector development, with a specific focus on empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
This was symbolically done through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding by the two COMESA institutions with AeTrade Group on 10th February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was conducted on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Ordinary Session Summit themed, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
Former CBC Chairperson, Doctor Amany Asfour, ALLPI Executive Director, Professor Mwinyikione Mwinyihija and AeTrade Group’s Founder and CEO, Mr. MuluAlem Syoum, each signed on behalf of their organisations. Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe and CBC Chief Executive Officer Sandra Uwera witnessed the signing. Speaking at the event, the chair of the CBC Mr. Marday Venketasamy said: “This partnership
is a real opportunity to transform the region’s socioeconomic landscape, strengthening industries and SMEs through financial inclusion, business linkages and facilitation of market access.”
The three institutions will further explore and implement as appropriate, actions that support solutions to some of Africa’s trade and economic challenges. These are identified as priorities in line with the implementation of the Agreement on African Continental Free Trade Area, with a specific focus on the master plan of the African Union Strategy on Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
“Our aim is working together to reap synergies and drive transformation faster in line with our respective mandates,” said AeTrade Group’s Founder and CEO, Mr. MuluAlem Syoum. The cooperation will concentrate on, but not
limited to the establishment and/or consolidation of regional electronic trade, and development of sustainable efforts in the areas of fair and transparent business models and practices. The collaboration is a response to the low
levels of intra-Africa trade, and will provide an opportunity to empower and support small and medium enterprises across the continent to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and its opportunities in the digital market.
Both the public and private sectors are urged to explore ways that they can partner with the CBC, ALLPI and AeTrade Group, in facilitating the delivery of intra-regional trade enhancing solutions, through multi‐stakeholder processes and mechanisms, befitting for the African context.