Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement project records 90% absorption rate

Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) Project PIU, has reported a 90% absorption rate with only two activities left in the second phase to be implemented before the closure period, scheduled to commence from 1st April 2019.

This is according to the project Implementation Unit during a Mission undertaken to Malawi, in support of the MEPE project which is under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. The Malawi has qualified for € 2,906,308 to implement the first, second and third phases of the MEPE. MEPE I successfully ended in June 2018, while MEPE II will end in May 2019. MEPE
III is set to commence once the formulation is finalized by April 2019. This phase will focus on activities that would support the mitigation of the identified gaps from MEPE I and II and less on procurements. However, the mission noted that, a structural change should be made regarding the management of the center to allow the intended widespread use by the locals.

The cooperatives, through MEPE, have undergone various capacity building activities, but even with the equipment procured, they are not able to reach their full productive capacities due to several challenges that include; lack of reliable electricity to run the machines, lack of MBS certification, as well as the lack of strong governance structures in the cooperatives for
smooth operation.

During the same meeting, it was reported that regardless of the challenges, membership numbers had increased, and numerous supply contracts had been achieved by the cooperatives through the business linkages created by MEPE, and more were in the pipeline.

To ensure the continued progress, it is vital to continue supporting the cooperatives to enable them to reach 100% productive capacity. The cooperatives will also need to be trained in marketing (including labelling), governance and operational management. The RISM and the project implementation Unit led by Operations officer Vanessa Ungapembe, from 19th to 22nd March 2019
visited various project areas in Malawi.

Among them were Kamwendo and Phalombe Cooperatives which are also centers of excellence. The two centres have been renovated and rehabilitated and installed with various equipment including refinery and expelling machines at a total cost of the rehabilitation was close to €220,000.

The team also undertook site visits to Blantyre textiles at MACOHA and Leather Design Studio (LDS). The state-of-the-art LDS was launched in October 2018, with equipment procured in 2017, worth € 320,710 while the Blantyre textiles cooperative with its base at MACOHA has been supported with equipment worth close to €91,000. The sewing machines are utilized frequently
including servicing and the cooperative has had revenues of close to € 15,500 in the past three years.

MEPE has supported SMEs and cooperatives in the clothing, edible oils and leather products sectors with equipment and provision of services aiming to enhance and
strengthen their participation in domestic and international trade.

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