The ambassador of the Embassy of Zambia in Ethiopia and permanent representative to the Africa Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Her Excellency Mrs Rose Kashembe Sakala visited ALLPI on the 22nd August, 2023. The purpose of the visit was to acquaint herself with the work of ALLPI as well as have the opportunity to interact with some selected institutions and SMEs in the leather sector in Ethiopia. ALLPI facilitated a guided tour of Her Excellency to the selected institutions.
The ALLPI team led by the Acting Executive Director (Ag.ED) and Programmes Coordinator, Mr. Ghebregziabher Ghebremedhin welcomed the Ambassador and permanent representative to the AU and UNECA and expressed gratitude for her visit.
The accomplished activities conducted by ALLPI aimed at enhancing the leather sector development in Zambia were presented to Her Excellency as follows:
- Facilitation of SMEs participation in the All Africa Leather Fair (AALF) held in Addis Ababa annually.
- Public, Academia and private sector representatives’ invitations to attend the Annual Regional consultative forums fully sponsored by ALLPI.
- ALLPI facilitation of benchmarking and experience sharing visit to Ege University, Turkey for University official from Copperstone University.
- Procurement and delivery of equipment and tools under BADEA technical Assistance grant for a total sum of 57,445.00 EURO at the SMEs Incubation Center/ Satellite Design Studio at the cooperative college in Lusaka
- Virtual meetings held with all key stake holders (private, public and academia) on the operationalization of satellite design studio at the SMEs Incubation Center/ Satellite Design Studio at the cooperative college in Lusaka.
- Activities for the development of a directory on enterprises, production performance and trade data that encompass Zambia Enterprises and SMEs.
- Information collection on potential SME’s that is uploaded on the ALLPI Trade portal.
- Facilitation , installation and commissioning of equipment and tools procured under BADEA Technical Assistance Grant and provision of capacity building ToT training to 30 SMEs, in:
- Transformative entrepreneurship
- Footwear and leather goods design
- Export readiness
- Costing and
- Record keeping
- Provision of Capacity Building Training for 6 leather SMEs on E-Commerce Platform usage.
- Conducting of training for SMEs linkage to raw material suppliers and institutional buyers of leather products.
- Facilitation of Curriculum development and harmonization for leather related programs for COMESA member states.
- Facilitation of Designers from Zambia participation in the Africa Design Talent Competition (A partnership initiative between ALLPI and Leather and Hides Council of America).
- Development and validation of a business plan for Operationalizing the SMEs Incubation Center/ Satellite Design Studio at the cooperative college in Lusaka.
- The development of a concept note for the integrated leather sector development Presidential supported initiative -a multi-institutional collaborative approach to scale up the leather sector development in Zambia.
- The RECAMP activities comprising; Certification of Eco-friendly Leather Products System Implementation in Line with Global Development to strengthen the Human and Institutional Capacity; holding a regional workshop to build capacity of ALLPI Member States and regional focal persons on application of standards for leather value chains including design of footwear and leather goods which meet regulatory and safety standards of the markets; designing a regional hides and skins traceability systems in line with global developments and provide capacity building to COMESA MS in the implementation of the regional hides and skins traceability systems; and conducting a review of the Regional Leather Value Chain Strategy (2012-2016) with the aim of developing the new strategy.
In response to the presentation of accomplished activities, the Ambassador and permanent representative to the AU and UNECA expressed delight with the work ALLPI was doing in Zambia. She requested ALLPI to share any challenges faced by the leather sector in Zambia. Some of the challenges advanced to H.E the ambassador were; limited , machinery, Lasts, soles and related accessories for production of leather and leather products ; Lack of training institutions offering leather related programs , and un coordinated way of implementing activities along the leather value chain by different institutions( government ministries, NGOs, cooperative partners, etc)
After the meeting with ALLPI, Her Excellency Mrs Rose Kashembe Sakala was taken on full day tour of selected institutions; the Leather and Leather Products Industry Research and Development Center (LLPIRDC), The Zgroup Company, Batu Tannery, and TAF leather Enterprise.
The LLPIRDC is an autonomous federal government institution having its legal personality. According to regulation No. 181/2010, the objective of the LLPIRDC is to facilitate the development and transfer of leather and leather products industries technologies and to enable the industries to become competitive and beget rapid development. The purpose of H.E touring the institution was to understand the setup and operations of the institution, especially how it is facilitating the development of the Ethiopian Leather sector. Also to explore Training opportunities at the Institute including bilateral ties.
Z Group Company is a Chinese owned group of companies established in Ethiopia and they are the main supplier of Soles and Lasts to the Ethiopian leather Industry and other neighbouring countries. The tour was necessitated for H.E. to appreciate the integrated business Setup of the company and how it has helped the footwear manufacturing sector in Ethiopia to develop to the current status.
Batu Tannery PLC is a privately owned company engaged in the tanning of sheepskin, goatskin and cowhides. The tannery is known for its high quality and capacity producing finished leather products for footwear uppers, gloves, purses, luggage, garments, belt and other uses for domestic and international markets and currently specialized more on cow hides.
TAF leather was founded in July 2011 by Tizita Assefa with a vision to empower Vulnerable but economically viable women. The women work together to produce high quality leather products for both the domestic and local markets. There are also male employees in the company. The tour was facilitated for H.E. to appreciate how the company is working to support vulnerable women to attain sustainable live hoods.
The visit to ALLPI and the tour of the above- highlighted institutions was an eye opener for her H.E Mrs Rose Kashembe Sakala, the ambassador for the Embassy of Zambia in Ethiopia and permanent representative to the Africa Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to appreciate the Ethiopian Leather Sector. She assured the institution (ALLPI) of her continued interaction and support to foster the leather sector development in Zambia and the African continent at large