By Andrew Magombo:
There is a glimmer of hope for the boom of business among local innovators as they have been given a platform to exhibit their products to foreign delegates attending the 41st Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit currently underway in Lilongwe.
With about 400 delegates expected during the talks which run up to Friday next week, public and private innovators have expressed anticipation that this will provide an opportunity to raise visibility of their products on the international market.
In a quick survey by Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Wednesday around the Umodzi Park where the Summit is taking place, it was found that over 50 pavilions showcasing products and new innovations have been erected.
Interviews conducted on site indicated that there is a cloud of optimism amongst the sales representatives that there would be boost of businesses during the period.
Raiply Malawi’s Sales Coordinator, Alexander Mwamlima, said they were happy to exhibit their latest products from timber considering that the company already has international markets.
Mwamlima said the company, which was once owned by Malawi Government, exports to countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Sudan, Namibia and Guinea.
“Every year we plant over 1.5 million trees. We do not import anything but we export all over East and Southern Africa,” he said.
“We have products which are more durable than what many Malawians import from countries like China.
“We hope that this exhibition will boost our business in a way because people from foreign countries will appreciate some of our international quality products,” added Mwamlima.
Meanwhile, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has also taken advantage of the summit to showcase its latest project of drawing water in the communities without cash but through digital means.
Charity Mkwezalamba, who is LWB Distribution Engineer in the Southern Zone, said they availed themselves at the exhibition to look for potential investors.
“We expect international delegates who have the financial capacity as well as Malawians because we also want people from other regions of the country to appreciate what we are doing,” she said.
Commenting further on their invention dubbed eMadzi Project, Mkwezalamba said LWB was gradually migrating from the traditional method of water kiosks whereby residents in communities pay cash to access water.
She said: “With the new system, customers will only have to swipe a card on the machine which has designated amounts of water in litres. It is even cheaper than the current system.
“The method is timely considering adverse effects of COVID-19 as it prevents congestion and hand-to-hand circulation of money.”
On Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eisenhower Mkaka, said Malawi would gain a lot from the SADC Summit in various sectors including trade and tourism.