Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) Participated at the Ninth COMESA Annual Research Forum that was held on 12-15 September 2022 in Cairo, Egypt through physical and virtual formats. The main objective of the forum was to present, review and discuss research papers and selected innovations submitted under the theme of “Enhancing Business Competitiveness and Resilience to Boost Intra-COMESA Trade”.

Prof. (Dr5) Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) Executive Director accompanied by Dr. Abdel Rahim M. Ahmed, Quality Assurance, Innovation and R&D Expert have attended the forum as a response to Office of the Assistant Secretary General invitation.

The forum was attended by delegates from the following Member States: Burundi, D.R. Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, and Zambia. Representatives from the following organizations also attended: African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), COMESA Monetary Institute (CMI), African Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), African Development Bank (AfDB), Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Union (EU), COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA), COMESA Clearing House (CCH), Brussels Liaison Office (BLO), University of Mauritius, Kenyatta University and London School of Economics.

The Theme for the Ninth Annual Research Forum is “Enhancing Business Competitiveness and Resilience to Boost Intra-COMESA Trade” with the following sub-themes:

  1. Macroeconomic shocks and intra-COMESA Trade;
  2. Value addition product diversification and intra-COMESA Trade;
  3. Integrating SMEs into Regional Value Chains and intra-COMESA Trade;
  4. Digitalization and intra-COMESA Trade;
  5. Barriers to trade and intra-COMESA Trade;
  6. Transportation logistics and intra-COMESA Trade.

The research papers focused on five broad thematic areas namely: Macroeconomic shocks and intra-COMESA trade; Value addition, product diversification and intra-COMESA Trade; Integrating SMEs into Regional value chains and intra-COMESA trade; Digitalization and intra-COMESA trade; Barriers to trade and intra-COMESA trade; and Transport, logistics and intra-COMESA trade.

Eight papers were presented which came up with policy implications which if implemented would play a critical role in enhancing business competitiveness and resilience to boost Intra-COMESA trade.

ALLPI, by participating in the forum, has contributed on the realization of Triple Helix Model (Private, Public and Academia) to jump start the regional industrial and trade development. In addition,

ALLPI has taken away innovative ideas that can be replicated to support SMEs in the regional leather sector.

Finally, the ALLPI ED networked with some delegations from Kenya and Sudan and discussed way forwards for further collaboration for improving leather value chain at their respective countries.

Partial View of the Research Forum
Partial View of the Research Forum

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