THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says there is need to build sourcing partnerships between small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and big companies to accommodate local food suppliers.
To this effect, the COMESA Business Council (CBC) held a workshop on local sourcing partnerships project which will focus on developing a business linkage portal for distributors and suppliers in Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
CBC is a business member organisation and a private sector institution of COMESA that provides a platform for advocacy in the development of the private sector in their economies.
COMESA acting secretary general Kipyego Cheluget said yesterday that it is important to ensure issues of standards and food management systems are central in boosting technical capacities of producers to compete in national and regional value chains.
“I would like to commend CBC for coming up with such an initiative as the local sourcing training programme which looks at building the technical capacity of SMEs to implement compliant food safety systems and feed into the supply chains of hospitality and retail industry in the COMESA region,” Dr Cheluget said.
Earlier, CBC chairperson Amany Asfour, who is also Egyptian Business Women Association president, said the project responds to key positions adopted by the manufactures’ work group that comprised associations, SMEs and corporates which focuses on promoting local sourcing.
Dr Asfour said through a well-coordinated approach and governance structure, a strong public and private intervention in improving competition in businesses will be attained.
“Today’s economists have repeatedly told governments and private sector that value chains are an important feature in today’s global economy and that African countries seeking to develop exports and grow their economies need to strengthen their value chains,” she said.