Address by ITC Executive Director closing speech at the WEDF
Permanent Secretary Siame
We have come to the end of three days of intense learning, sharing and collaboration. New partnerships have been forged. New friends have been made. And once again we have showed how Africa can deliver for Africa.
There have been many speeches so I want to just leave you with some figures:
- More than 1600 people registered for WEDF from 60 countries
- The first SheTrades chapter in Southern Africa: SheTrades Zambia.
- One innovative Youth UNconference which placed a spotlight on the voice of young entrepreneurs and policy makers.
- 4 publications launched including Faster customs, faster trade: Using technology for trade facilitation’ with Huawei Technologies and the Business Guide to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in partnership with the African Union Trade Commission.
- 70 companies from 17 countries participated in the B2B.
- 1500 Trade leads identified over 300 bilateral meetings.
- Over 10 training and capacity building sessions held.
- 6 plenary sessions ranging from tearing down Trade borders to agribusiness to women’s economic empowerment.
- 100 local students and visiting from South Africa.
- 6 amazing youth entrepreneurs pitching their ideas
- All WEDF panels with gender balance
- One amazing Zambian musician
- More than 2000 tweets and Facebook shares on social media and you can find all of the photos from WEDF through our ITC app ITC at Hand so download it for your IOS
- One top trending twitter handle: WEDF18
- And one amazing host country: Zambia
I first want to thank the Zambian authorities and the Zambian people for the incredible welcome and effective hosting of this conference. Like so many countries Zambia’s economy is facing strong winds but I believe the country stands on firm ground and has the potential to strongly rebound and regain economic stability. That WEDF came to Zambia is a vote of confidence by ITC. Zambia is a country that has made big progress but still has incredible unrealised potential. We at ITC know this because we have been working with Zambia and Zambian businesses for years. Zambian SMEs have been exposed to international buyers this week and have showcased the ingenuity and creativity of the products and services from this country. One only had to visit the exhibition this week to see this. From traditional weavers adding value to cotton to create beautiful textiles- a project supported by ITC- to Moringa infused peanut butter, teas and soups, to leather work and financial services: this is a country with so much to offer.
In my welcome speech I referenced that Africa- unlike some others- is embracing trade and integration. The AfCFTA is a vehicle to realize the aspirations of a borderless continent. What we have learnt here will be important inputs into that process:
1. That trade facilitation at the border is only really effective if all parties modernize, increase transparency and cut down on red tape.
2. That placing women and youth at the centre of Trade and development policy- including the AfCFTA- is critical if we are to deliver for inclusive growth.
3. That adding value to goods and services, in particular in agriculture, and increasing the capacity to develop and extend value chains in Africa must be part of the Continental strategy
4. That the voice of youth matter. They will take forward tomorrow for what we are putting in place today. This morning I met with over 120 African youth to discuss trade and development issues and I can tell you the future is bright
5. That supporting the competitiveness of MSMEs must be at the centre of the Continental development trajectory. From ensuring financial literacy to meeting quality standards and packaging to supporting trade and investment data and intelligence to moving to automation and the digital economy- this is where the cursor must be placed; competitiveness rather than protectionism.
6. That the future is green. Greening value chains, incorporating sustainability into production methods and promoting green financing.
These are just some of the important messages coming out of these 3 days of discussion. But this is only one part of solution. With identifying the constraints and the problems the next step is to create a blueprint for responding and reacting. Through the capacity building that we carried out in tandem with these discussions this week, ITC will continue to be your partner. And the week does not end today. Thursday and Friday ITC will be supporting an investment discussion between China and Zambia through one of our flagship programmes the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA); we will be facilitating international media exposure of a series of projects that ITC and the EIF have supported in Zambia including on honey and mushrooms; and we will be facilitating a trade and investment discussion with trade promotion organizations from the COMESA region.
A word on the business-to-business meetings that were held this week. We saw 120 participants in the B2B exchange. Business was discussed and business was concluded. An early estimate is that deals potentially worth around US10 million are on the table.
You all know Moringa- the miracle tree. Moringa Wonder Plus Zambia Limited which is involved in organic production of moringa trees through transforming the leaves into a powder for its consumption. For this transformation process to be effective, machinery that does not alter the properties of the leave is required. Alpatech Process Equipment Pvt. Ltd from India has developed a unique expertise in processing machinery to produce healthy drinks and wine from fruits and honey. The company mainly presently in Asia is seeking new markets in Africa.
Moringa Wonder Plus Zambia Limited and Alpatech are now partnering to use Alpatech expertise and machinery to transform Moringa into powder in Zambia as well as to develop similar product lines in Zambia using mangoes, baobabs and avocados.
In addition, Moringa Wonder Plus uses chillies to create a natural protection barrier against pests’ around Moringa trees. As the company is currently expanding the tree plantations, Moringa Wonder Plus will buy large quantities of chillies that the Indian spices company “Ambodia Tee” is in a position to supply. This is what you can call a win-win-win-win.
Another story from the B2B is around honey. The Bee Hive Ltd. (Malawi) is involved in commercial bee keeping and produces high quality honey and honey by products including bee wax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis and bee venom targeting heath and eco conscious consumers.
The demand for their products outstrips the current supply. The Bee Hive is partnering with the a social enterprise from Zambia (Good Nature Agro) to scale up their production through a contract farming scheme in which The Bee Hive will provide technical assistance to Good Nature Agro and will buy the production of honey to meet the increasing demand in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The Bee Hive is also collaborating with Alpatech Process Equipment Pvt. Ltd(India) to use their expertise and equipment to add value to honey through processing into wine.
There has also been a lot of progress on the business aspect of harmonization of food safety. For example Selects Fruits Produce (Kenya) buys and sells sesame seeds, chick peas and groundnuts and it is facing shortages to supply the domestic market in terms of quality and quantities.
Malawi and Zambia are the main producers in the region but production from Zambia does not systematically carry out the toxicity tests required to sell in the Kenyan market where the agricultural products must be Aflatoxin free. Zambia is missing business opportunities as the country is lagging behind in terms of food safety regulations.
With ADMARC from Malawi, the marketing board entrusted with the commercialisation of Malawian produce, Selects Fruits Produce has found the quantity and quality that the company needs and there are discussions to place orders before the planting season to ensure a market for Malawian producers.
Another successful outcome has been seen with Garden of Zucchi (Zambia) which buys fresh fruits and vegetables to supply the local market. There is an unmet demand for avocado pears in Zambia while in Malawi the production of avocado pears is being discarded, as there is no market demand. An agreement has been reached that ADMARC (Malawi) will now act as the collection centre for avocado pears to sell the production to Zambia.
We have also seen success in pooling production to reach third markets. Miyonga Fresh Greens Ent (Kenya) is an export oriented company serving European markets. Dried mango is in high demand in Germany and domestic production is insufficient to supple to the German market.
Chankwakwa Ltd (Zambia) has no experience in exporting to the European market but it can supply dried mango to Miyonga Fresh Greens (Kenya) for re-exporting to Germany. This is regional cooperation in action.
And finally on adding value. E-Kulima from Kenya is involved in the transformation of fresh apple mangoes into puree for the subsequent transformation into mangoes juices.
The company needs to move up to the value chain and start the transformation of puree into juices to increase the shelf life of their products.
Alpatech Process Equipment Pvt. Ltd (India) is collaborating with e-Kulima based on its solid expertise in producing juices and wines from exotic fruits and helping them to move up the value chain and increase export revenues.
To conclude friends- this has been a successful WEDF2018 and a successful launch of SheTrades Zambia. I once again thank Zambia for its collaboration and leadership on this. Let me also recognise past WEDF hosts who are with us: Hungary, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Rwanda and China. And finally I would ask you to give a round of applause to my dedicated staff in the ITC who have been working for months to make this happen. They are dedicated, innovative and passionate.
The future is very bright for Zambia.