Malawi president Joyce Banda, who is the outgoing chairperson of Comesa, has urged people in the economic bloc to work together and promote integration to put the region on a solid developmental footing.
The President made the remarks in her keynote address at the 16th summit of the Comesa heads of State and government in Kampala, Uganda, where she also handed over the chairmanship to Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.
â€œWe need to make sure that beyond our summits, meetings and talks, we actually deliver projects and programmes that have a tangible impact on peopleâ€™s lives,â€ said Banda.
Banda said promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region is crucial as the economies of the countries in the region rely on such businesses.
â€œNo country can hope to achieve sustainable economic growth without expanding and diversifying trade with small businesses. A vibrant small and medium enterprises sector can become a catalyst for accelerated economic development for all Comesa member states,â€ she said.
Agreeing with Banda, Museveni said promotion of SMEs is critical in Africa as most economies in the world have grown through SMEs and regional integration.
â€œWe need to work together if we are to prosper as Africa, we can be like China if we put so much effort and promote our SMEs,â€ said Museveni.
As one way of promoting SMEs, in 2012, the Comesa Secretariat, with funding from the European Union, launched a cluster project on micro, small and medium enterprises. â€”report by Enelless Nyale in Kampala, Uganda. She works for Mana.