Monday, July 30, 2012

East Africa: COMESA Rolls Out U.S.$100,000 Cluster Programmes

By Nchimunya Muganya, 25 July 2012, in Times of Zambia 
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) division has embarked on a cluster programme for SMEs at a total cost of US$100,000.
COMESA SME Toolkit national coordinator Edwin Zulu disclosed this in Lusaka yesterday during an induction meeting of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Board.
Mr Zulu said the cluster would be created in three different sectors of the economy namely, leather and footwear, cotton and textiles, and the cassava industry.
He said the cluster facility for the leather and footwear and cotton and textiles would be located in Lusaka's Chinika area and that of cassava in Luapula Province.
Mr Zulu noted that the main aim of creating clusters was to ensure that SMEs development was embraced through the usage of proper equipment and latest technology, thereby building capacity in value addition.
He said the clusters would help SMEs share ideas on how best they can contribute to national development through job creation and infrastructure development as well as establish commercially competitive markets.
"Our division with the full support from COMESA has embarked on a cluster creation programme in the country.
"We will create cluster facilities for our SMEs as it is one way of providing support to them and also to complement Government's efforts in development," he said.
Mr Zulu said the formation of clusters would be completed by the end of the year, adding that it would go a long way in providing support through equipment and infrastructure.
"We hope to finish the formation of these clusters by the end of this year, as you know it is very easy to support a group than individuals and the clusters will allow a number of SMEs to have easy access to using state-of-the-art equipment which they cannot manage to acquire on their own.
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