Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) project phase I

Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (MEPE) project phase I

Improving productivity

Through the MEPE project, Malawi is being transformed into a manufacturer of leather products. This will benefit Malawi as a whole. Many people – farmers, craftsmen and traders - will see their income increase thanks to this EU investment

Edward Malunga, President of the Leather Association of Malawi


Developing the productive base of the economy is key to creating sustainable employment, enhancing Malawi's export capacity, and expanding its domestic markets. That is why MEPE project is developing sustainable models to increase the production of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperative groups. It is also developing marketing capacities and formal domestic and regional sales channels. MEPE is founded on the understanding that a more efficient production, enhanced food safety, and greater competitiveness will enhance the country's exports.


  • Enhance the production and competitiveness of cooperatives and SME clusters in the edible oil, leather products, textile and garment industries in COMESA region and beyond.
  • Improve the production and competitiveness of finished products in the targeted sub-sectors.
  • Strengthen the coordination and implementation of COMESA and other regional commitments through various government instruments, forums and activities.


  • MEPE I invested in equipment and technologies to support cooperatives in the oilseed, leather and textile sectors
  • MEPE II is helping cooperatives in these sectors develop the knowledge and skills needed to utilise the equipment productively and to secure domestic and regional markets


  • EU Contribution MEPE 1: EUR 1,5 million MEPE II: EUR 488,000


Leather Design Studio helping Malawians

"Malawi lost its only leather footwear plant in the mid-nineties. Since then, most of its hides and skins have been exported in raw or semi-processed state. Now, thanks to the EU, the country has a modern footwear factory capable of producing up to 600 pairs of shoes a day. Says Crispin Amasi, the head of the Leather Design Studio. Malawi imported USD10 million (about MK7.3 billion) worth of footwear and other leather products in 2016 alone. Therefore the establishment of the Leather Design Studio will help save Malawi's forex reserves and create employment along the entire leather product value chain. Local craftsmen will be able to use their skills to produce more competitively, local farmers will be able to sell their hides to the Leather Design Studio craftsmen, while other players will be able to get involved in buying, selling, marketing, and exporting.

All in all, this will enable local businesses to flourish. It’s a blessing that the EU has helped us in this manner."