China International Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Fair (CISMEF) which was launched in 2004 is an event with the highest level, largest scale and most wide-ranging influence in the Asia-Pacific region. CISMEF has enjoyed the support and participation of many countries especially ASEM members, Central and Eastern European and sub-Sahara Africa.
Nigeria has consecutively participated in the last three Editions through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN.) who in turn facilitated the participation of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in the global fair. This has provided valuable opportunities for Small and Medium enterprises to learn from one another and strengthen exchange and cooperation. It also gave face to face negotiation opportunity and explores valuable business partners.
The exhibition covers textiles and garments, footwear, headgear, bags, toys and crafts. Others include food, medicine, electronics, ceramics, information technology, solid minerals etc.
The 2019 edition of CISMEF as usual took place in Guangzhou, the business hub of Guangdong Province of China. Poly World Trade Centre Pazhou was the venue for this year’s edition which lasted between 22nd and 27th of June.
On arrival, the officials of Guangdong province and the Ministry of Industry and information Technology held a brief meeting with overseas delegates including Nigeria. At the meeting with the Nigerian delegation held at the Orchid of Grand hotel, the Inspector of Department of Industry and Information Technology of Guangdong province Mr. He Rung welcomed the Nigerian delegation to the city of Guangzhou; he appreciated Nigeria’s participation at the fair and hoped that the Nigerian delegation would learn a lot from the Chinese experience.
Responding the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda thanked the Government of the Guangdong Province for the hospitality extended to the Nigerian delegation.
He said Nigeria has been participating in the fair in the last four years and prayed that the country should be given an opportunity to cohost the fair in subsequent editions. He said Nigeria will be featuring 45 small and medium enterprises at the fair and they will be showcasing different products from the country.
At the opening reception which was held at Grand ballroom of Grand Hotel in Guangzhou, The Nigerian delegations was led by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda who was on the high table among other heads of delegates which includes Mr. LI Yong the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO.
The fair was officially declared open by Mr. Ma Xingrui the governor of the Guangdong province, after the opening speech and cutting of the tape, the Governor of the Peoples Government of Guangdong Province Mr. Ma Xingrui, accompanied by the DG SMEDAN and other officials of CISMEF as well as Heads of delegations from other countries visited and moved round the fair ground.
The glittering Nigerian stand at Area A, China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) Pazhou complex was a beehive of activities as visitors on a daily basis thronged the Nigerian stand to see products and goods on display. It was networking and opening of new vistas for the Nigerian exhibitors. The Chairman of Governing Board of SMEDAN, Otunba Femi Pedro and DG SMEDAN Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda also took time to go round the Nigerian stand to interact with the exhibitors.
Later in the afternoon at the Grand Ballroom of Garden Hotel in Guangzhou where the 2019 SME summit took place, the Chairman Governing Board of SMEDAN, Otunba Femi Pedro and DG of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda were present with other Nigerian Delegates. Issues bordering on the development of SMEs particularly on innovations and sustainable growth were the focus of the summit.
At the dinner banquet for overseas delegates organized by CISMEF 2019 committee, The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN who was the special guest of honor at the event, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda in his remarks highlighted major challenges faced by Small and medium enterprises as, modern technology, infrastructure inadequacies, funding and capacity know-how among others.
Dr. Radda pointed out that to make the large population of MSMEs in Nigeria more competitive and to overcome the challenges, the country cannot afford not to associate with China.
He said Nigeria bilateral relationship with China started in the 70s, adding between then and now the trade volume has reached over 100 billion dollars. “To concretize the relationship we believe the issue of technology transfer should be taken more seriously”.
The Director General stressed that SMEDAN was not unmindful of what past participating MSMEs have benefitted by way of accessing modern equipment, better product packaging, signing up investment partners and enhanced trade exchange, adding we are looking forward to positive post fair deliverables that could enhance the competitiveness of Nigeria’s MSMEs.
To round up the global event, the management of SMEDAN organized a dinner for the Nigerian exhibitors and commended them for a brilliant outing going by the collaborations and business transactions struck by the Nigerian team.
The Chairman of Governing Board of SMEDAN, Otunba Femi Pedro noted that Nigerians should emulate the Chinese who some years back were not a force to be reckoned with. He said the participation of Nigeria in the fair would further boost their competitiveness in the global market.