Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa should be supported in various areas in order to tap their immense contribution to the continent’s economic development, African Union Commission official urged.
The second Annual MSMEs Forum being held under the theme "Start-up Acts: An Instrument to Foster Development and Innovation in Africa’’.
The five-day forum brought together MSMEs in Africa across the following value chains, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, agro-processing, apparel, logistics, and the creative industries.
The MSMEs are important drivers of economic growth and development in Africa, they account for over 90 percent share of the total employment rate on the continent.
However, MSMEs also account for about 30 percent of exports hence the need for support and development of this sector in Africa. Despite MSMEs’ significant role in the development of African economies, they have yet to be fully integrated into the regional value chain system and consequently the continental trading system.
Speaking at the occasion Commissioner of the Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals (ETTIM) of the African Union Commission, Albert Muchanga said “This is one of the important events in the implementation of the African Union Small and Medium Enterprises strategy.”
The African Union Small and Medium Enterprises strategy will greatly contribute to Africa's commercial and sustainable development, he added.
According to the World Bank; 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing number of youth needing employment worldwide. The same World Bank estimates that 7 in 10 jobs created in the developing world, including Africa will come from MSMEs.
“It is therefore important that we come together and support these enterprises. They require supportive legislation and capacity building in areas like product development, accounting and marketing” the commissioner underlined.
There also among others require access to cheap finance, he said, adding for many of them, they also needed to be exposed to the levers of clustering to competitively position themselves to take advantage of commercial offered by the large and growing market of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
In this connection, “we shall utilize initiatives such as cluster development, and industrial upgrading enterprise modernization and innovation programs being implemented by UNIDO to support micro, small and medium enterprises with respect to competitiveness and, in the process enhance their participation in the continental and international markets,” Muchanga said.
President of the All African Association for Small and Medium Enterprises, Innocent Iyalla Harry said the African Union on the edges of agenda 2063 and MSMEs as engineer room for growth would guarantee prosperity as enshrined in agenda 2063 to attain the Africa we want.
Following the establishment of the African Union Small and Medium Enterprises strategy framework, a continental policy that can only work if implemented, he elaborated.
He reiterated that the association has a political and social will as a part of progress to assist the acceleration of the implementation.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency