TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Malawi: Expert calls for SMEs’ consortium to better utilise AGOA

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 Published: | LUKE BISANI

Source: Malawi24.com

An expert on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has called for the need to have a consortium to help in meeting the demand for local products on the international market.

This comes at a time when Malawi producers are failing to meet the demand on the international market despite the country being included to enjoy the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Speaking after visiting the Kwithu Kitchen women group, United States Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer expressed worry over underproduction of goods for the international market.

Palmer added that Malawi should take advantage of AGOA that was signed to help economies from developing countries like Malawi.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi24, Small and Medium Enterprise Development specialist McDonald Mkandawire has called for a need to have consortium that will help in coordinating local producers.

“It’s possible that they can create that appetite for the international meet and to meet the demand we need to have a consortium that will see all SMEs operating under one umbrella, that consortium will have database of who is producing what and in what volumes this can help improve production,” said Mkandawire.

He further urged authorities to consider helping the capacity of SMEs through lowering of interest rates.

“The interests in Malawi are just very high and you will find out that these SMEs work to repay the loans and not to develop their production. We need also to flex some conditions that are attached when getting a bank loan, they are asked to have a collateral and most of them they don’t have tangible assets like houses, they live in rented houses,” he added.

AGOA, Title I, Trade and Development Act of 2000; is a piece of legislation that was approved by the U.S. Congress in May 2000.

The purpose of this legislation is to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region. After completing its initial 15-year period of validity, the AGOA legislation was extended on 29 June 2015 by a further 10 years, to 2025.

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