Empowering SMEs is key for Africa progress

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smes.jpgProcurement as a driver for the development of the continent was a major theme at the recent CIPS Pan Africa Conference.

"Unless we get procurement to support entrepreneurship, it will be like trying to move Everest with a teaspoon,” said KeaObaka Mahuma, head of enterprise and supply chain development for Africa at Absa, at the annual event at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Separately, delegates had heard the economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa was “somewhat bleak” but there was reason for optimism because countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Ghana were carrying out re-forms that helped businesses grow. 

Mahuma told delegates that supporting new businesses was the only way to cater for a growing population. “Unless we start empowering SMEs our hope of providing for one billion people is going to fade.”

Others went further and said governments must legislate to ensure local content in supply chains.

“It is up to the government to make an effort by legislating the procurement laws to ensure we give attention to our local suppliers,” said Basil Ahiable, managing consultant at Supply Chain Consult Ghana.

Meanwhile, a new law has come into force in Malawi that means anyone practising procurement in the country must be CIPS qualified. The Malawi Institute of Procurement and Supply (MIPS) Act became operational on 2 June.

This article first appeared in SupplyChainManagement

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