BLANTYRE (MaraviPost) — Finca Malawi, one of the country’s microfinance institutions, has been recognised as 2014 best service provider.

The institution, along with other local and international exhibitors, were recognised and given awards during the official opening of the 26th Malawi International Trade Fair in the commercial capital Blantyre on Friday.

Illovo Malawi got the Best Exhibitor Award; Proto Feeds received the Best Manufacturer Award while Kenya got the Best International Exhibitor.

This year’s trade fair whose theme is “Productivity: Key to Exploring Export Opportunities” has only attracted four foreign companies down from 11 in 2013. And in terms countries represented, Kenya and Zimbabwe are the only countries participating at this year’s trade.

Speaking in an interview MaraviPost after receiving the award, Finca Malawi Marketing Manager Samson Mwalungila said the recognition was a demonstration that microfinance institutions were “getting out of the cocoon” by providing relevant information to the general public regarding loans and services they are providing.

Mwalungila further claimed that it also demonstrates that the institution is adhering to standards and service delivery provisions set aside by the industry’s regulator, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

“We have really been inspired and we are looking forward to providing more relevant information and loans to the general public,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Newton Kambala urged government to partner with them in putting up a “world class exhibition centre” through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

According to Kambala, MCCCI is a non-profit organization that cannot raise enough finances to develop such a facility in the country.

“Yet the benefits to government of attracting serious international buyers are immense. If exports increase certainly foreign exchange should no longer be a problem.

“We would therefore like to put that proposal across to government. We already have basic drawings for this project and are ready to engage your officials,” said Kambala.

He also observed that after 27 years of holding the far, the results have not “exactly lived up” t expectations.

This year’s trade fair was officially opened by President Peter Mutharika. It was ironically his maiden engagement with the private sector

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