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Igniting Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Industry and SME Prosperity

COMESA Business Council (CBC) last week had the privilege of participating in two pivotal events aimed at driving industrialization and SME development across Africa. The African Union Industry Stakeholders’ Strategic Retreat, held from April 22nd to 24th, 2024, and the Third Africa SME Development Program Partnership Platform (ASMED 3P), held from April 25th to 26th, 2024, provided invaluable insights and opportunities for collaboration.

The retreat, attended by stakeholders from Regional Economic Communities, Member States, private sector representatives, development agencies, and development banks, focused on strengthening partnerships and developing a joint work plan for 2024. Discussions centered on clarifying roles and responsibilities to support the implementation of outcomes from the African Union Summit on Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification.

At ASMED 3P, delegates shared experiences and plans for advancing SME competitiveness and participation in global value chains. CBC made a notable presentation on key priorities for increasing SME competitiveness, emphasizing access to international markets and global value chains. CBC highlighted ongoing programs such as the Digital Financial Inclusion Program, Business Integrity Project, Local Sourcing for Partnerships, and Regional Track and Trace System for COMESA.

Key outcomes from the events included the alignment of stakeholders’ vision on industry strategic files, setting 2024 targets and evaluation frameworks, and establishing a roadmap and work plan for effective implementation of partnership platforms and initiatives. Additionally, the adoption of the Enterprise Africa Network Draft Resource Mobilization Strategy and the SME Forum underscored the commitment to advancing industrialization and innovation programs.

CBC remains committed to driving industrialization and SME development in the COMESA region and beyond. By fostering collaboration and sharing best practices, CBC aims to contribute to Africa’s economic transformation and sustainable development.