The COMESA Business Council has challenged local small scale businesses to consider adding value to their products and services to offset the trade deficit Africa is facing.
The Council also challenged business people to target internationally accepted quality to ably access and penetrate through the global market.
The Council’s Policy and Advocacy Officer Kudzai Madzivanyika made the challenge on Tuesday when she officially opened four-day training workshop for local SMEs.
The workshop dubbed ‘Local Sourcing for Partnerships meeting’ and targeting over 80 participants will end on Friday. The forum seeks to contribute to an overall improvement of intra trade development in COMESA as well as promote and facilitate international market access of local products.
According to Madzivanyika, through a combined effort and collaboration in implementation of the Local Sourcing Project, tangible development can be achieved for the competitiveness of SMEs businesses and industries.
“On Global Procurement- At Private sector level, Large corporate should support the local and regional SMEs through procurement processes from the local and regional industry in their respective value chain. Large corporate, working with the SME Associations can identify the respective SME’s that can input into their value chains. This will strengthen the growth of SMEs,” Madzivanyika said.
The training is also in line with the nation’s ‘Buy Malawian Build Malawi’ strategy aimed at stimulating local production, consumption and growth by mobilizing all players to embrace locally produced goods and services to ultimately build the competitiveness of the country’s local enterprises.
However, the strategy attracted mixed reactions as locally produced products are largely considered of low quality and expensive compared to imported products.