Malawi is among nine countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to benefit from the digital financial inclusion plan designed to facilitate penetration of financial services.
In a statement released on Friday, Comesa Business Council project manager for digital financial inclusion Jonathan Pinifolo said they have picked the countries based on their trade activities within the various trade corridors.
“The North-South corridor is the most extensive corridor system in the region, linking the largest number of countries in eastern and southern Africa,” he said.
Comesa’s statement follows last Thursday’s virtual business case validation meeting attended by Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Dalitso Kabambe and representatives of Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and commercial banks.
Speaking during the meeting, Comesa assistant secretary general for programmes Kipyego Cheluget said Comesa is focusing on the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said Africa’s economic transformation lies in the ability to increase value addition and strengthening participation of SMEs in national and regional supply chains.
“This can only be achieved when we build competitive and sustainable businesses that can compete with regional and international counterparts,” said Cheluget.
In his address, Kabambe said Covid-19 has a negative impact on global trade as national budget deficit has doubled with a huge growth in global debt.
He said digital financial inclusion will address the current challenges and the proposed solutions will complement existing infrastructure such as Sadc Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System.
Comesa Business Council chief executive officer Sandra Uwera thanked the Malawi government for supporting the digital financial inclusion initiatives which will increase intra-trade within Comesa by at least 10 percent annually.
The digital financial inclusion plan is aimed at promoting trade within the region involving marginalised communities.
The nine beneficiary countries include Mauritius, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.