Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Salim Bagus has said high demand for footwear signifies the huge potential the industry has in contributing to the country’s economic growth.
The minister said this in Lilongwe on Wednesday during the opening of the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) 2019 Annual Regional Consultative Forum.
The forum, held under the theme Developing Africa’s Leather Value Chain Through Research, Business Linkages and Technology Transfer, sought to share experiences and discuss key issues that can help accelerate the progress of regional leather and leather products sector.
Bagus said with an estimated production of 300 000 bovine hides and skins per annum, Malawi currently lacks the capacity to process its raw materials due to the absence of a tannery.
This is against the backdrop of figures from the ministry showing that locally, footwear demand alone is estimated at 16 million pairs against current production of around 300 000 pairs per annum as of 2018.
The demand is projected to reach 18 million pairs per annum in tandem with population growth this year.
Said the minister: “Clearly this shows the potential and viability of investing in a tannery in Malawi, which can feed the leather design studio with finished leather as well as supplying the deficit to countries in the region”.
ALLPI executive director Mwinyikione Mwinyihija said the institution is working with member States to improve quality and standards to meet international market requirements for footwear.