Call to Private Sector to Finance the Growth of SMEs for National Development

Unicaf University is committed to support the Malawi 2063 agenda. On April 13th at the Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe Unicaf University organised, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission, an open lecture and panel discussion on “Accessing private financing for SMEs: its role in enhancing economic growth towards Malawi 2063.” The lecture was presented by a well-known, prominent speaker: Mizinga Melu, Chair of the Bankers Association of Zambia and Chief Executive Officer of ABSA Bank Zambia PLC, with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Simplex Chithyola Banda MP, the Guest of Honour. 

The event attracted a large audience of Government Ministers and officials, CEOs and representatives of private banks and other financial institutions, entrepreneurs, business people, and academics.  NBS Bank and Standard Bank of Malawi co-sponsored the event.

The role of Small and Medium Enterprises in driving economic growth in Malawi has been identified by various stakeholders as a key determinant of economic development. Ms Mizinga Melu highlighted the need for banks to work with their SME clients to build sustainability, and advised SMEs and relevant agencies to establish linkages and partnerships with neighbouring countries in order to expand to markets beyond Malawi and thus enhance easier access to financing opportunities. 

Hon Simplex Chithyola Banda called on commercial banks and financial institutions to provide tailor made financing solutions for SMEs in order to facilitate trade and industrialisation, which are key elements in achieving Malawi’s long term development strategy.

The Director General of the National Planning Commission, Dr Thomas Munthali, stressed that SMEs are key for inclusive wealth creation and that Malawi should build on its current activities, learn from other countries, and find new ways to support and finance the SME sector.

The Vice Chancellor of Unicaf University, Dr Robert Ridley, said that the idea for the public lecture came out of the National Development Conference organised by the National Planning Commission in February. The event, he added, proves the value of linking academia, the private sector and government to find new ways to deal with important national issues.

A panel discussion followed after the lecture, moderated by the CEO of Standard Bank of Malawi; the panel included an entrepreneur, two bank CEOs and the deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and raised issues that the National Planning Commission will take forward as part of the ongoing implementation of Malawi 2063.

Contact Unicaf University campus at 0111 755 333 for more information. 

Written by Eva Koursoumba

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