The ALLPI Annual Consultative Forum which was held during 11th – 13th December 2018 at Coral Port Sudan Hotel in Port Sudan, Sudan was successfully concluded. The Forum was held with the Theme of “Focusing on Innovation to Transform Africa’s Leather Sector towards Productivity and Competitiveness!”
The following objectives guided the attainment of the referred to theme:
- Creating opportunity to share the national and regional leather sector success stories (Promote cross fertilization of success models);
- Building consensus towards innovation, quality assurance and their importance for export readiness in reference to recent events;
- Sharing research undertakings by identified players at regional and global level
- Identifying the key challenges and interventions towards achieving sustainable regional leather sector development
- Enhancing the leather tanning industry sustainable production processes, consumption and eco-entrepreneurship
- Discussing on the potential pathway to capacity building and technology transfer from both global and regional perspectives.
The opening of the forum was graced by the presence of H.E. Alhaj Muhamad Ali, the Governor of the Red Sea state, HE. Mr. Ali Omer-Alsharif Alhindee-Minster for Production and Economic Resources of the Red Sea State and H.E. Dr. Jaafar Ahmed Abdalla - Minister of Industry and Trade, Khartoum State.
The forum was attended by 90 participants representing National, Regional and International Stakeholders in the leather sector from 11 Eastern and Southern African countries, (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe,) and Partner Organizations representatives from India, Italy and Turkey.
The opening event started with welcoming address, delivered by Prof. Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, Executive Director (ED), ALLPI. Prof. Mwinyihija recognized the presence of H.E. Governor of Red Sea State –Alhaj Muhamad Ali, State Ministers, esteemed invited guests and participants. Prof. Mwinyihija once again thanked the Governor, higher officials and people of the Red Sea State for the warm welcome and unapparelled hospitality. He then highlighted key socio-economic aspects of leather sector related to employment, wealth creation, rural development and gender parity. As such, reiterated the need for appropriate transformational strategies as prerequisite to the continent’s sustainable development initiatives.
H.E. Dr. Jaafar Ahmed Abdalla -Minister of Industry and Trade, Khartoum State, welcomed the participants to Sudan and reiterated the importance of the leather sector, and consequently the forum that discusses the sector’s issues in the region. H.E. Dr. Jaafar gave statistical data on the rich livestock resource in Sudan, and indicated that Sudan is among the top countries in the world and Africa with such resources. He highlighted on the development map for the leather sector of Sudan that encompass new leather city that will be created to boost the sector with modern effluent treatment plant. The process in underway and key infrastructures are being laid down such as water supply, road network. The leather city will have banks, conservation unit, workshops laboratories. The honorable Minister also mentioned the capacity building initiatives in technical skills development through supporting vocational training and putting in place a satellite design studio. Policies are also being put in place to support the leather sector. Dr. Jaafar thanked ALLPI for all technical support throughout the process and affirmed his esteemed Ministry’s readiness to implement the outputs of the forum for the development of the leather sector.
The Executive Director, Prof. Mwinyihija, appreciated the support, contribution and goodwill of the partners who contributed to the organization of this forum; UV enterprise, AFROTAN, Leather WORD Paris, Metis tannery for leather, SUST, COMAid-RISM-Sudan, BIOCHEMICA, Ethiopian airlines.
During the three-day deliberations the following reports were presented: report of the 5th SMEs Technical Committee Meeting and Matters Arising, ALLPI 2018 Key Performances and Program of Action, Country Presentations, IULTCS 2021 Congress Ethiopia Presentation, ALLPI Budget and Work Programs for the year 2019, ALLPI and Strategic Plan Review, and Presentations from Technology Groups and research outputs.
Specifically, ALLPI Supported Research Activities were presented by Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Nyeri, Kenya, National University of Science and Technology Zimbabwe (NUST), Bahir Dar University-Ethiopia, Kyambogo University- Uganda, Sudan University of Science and Technology-SUST.
In addition, participants were grouped into four groups (Tanneries and Chemical suppliers, Academic Platform, Member States, and SMEs Platform) to discuss focusing on specific issues.
ALLPI recognized and awarded a Staff Member and a number of participants for the role they have played in the leather sector Recommendations.
At the end of the Forum, participants suggested the following recommendations that should be taken into consideration for future intervention:
- Invite potential buyers of leather and leather products to participate in the 2019 consultative forum;
- Involving students from universities on graduation and other educational programs in the leather sector to participate in the consultative Forum;
- Assist enterprises to convert rejects to valuable products that will help to reduce losses along the value chain including raw hides and skins;
- Establish database of SMEs with their profiles in order to have a database of enterprises for marketing purposes;
- ALLPI to pursue sharing knowledge and technology through Triple Helix Approach and enhance involvement of Youth in Leather value chain industry;
- Develop Africa trade mark for e-commerce and export promotion;
- Facilitate experience sharing visits between member States to promote sharing of success stories;
- Collaborative researches with academia to focus on SMEs problems solving research activities;
- Facilitate adoption of cleaner technologies, especially in tanning industries (eg. the Oxytech Reclamation Technology-enzymatic water treatment solution and others).