Cally Clothing, a local firm manufacturing branded clothing and other promotional material, has received a P1.3 million grant from the European Union and Germany to expand into the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as re-usable unisex scrubs and surgical gowns.
SIPS has signed grant agreements in seven SADC member states totalling €1.2 million (P15.6 million) with each grant ranging between €100,000 to €200,000 for small and medium-sized enterprises, state-owned company and universities. The SIPS programme, with a budget of more than €20 million, seeks to foster self-reliant economies, decrease import dependency and build regional resilience.
EU and SADC officials said through the grant agreements, Cally Clothing would be supported to respond to the shortages of protective equipment and material in the Southern African market seen since the onset of COVID-19.
The grant will be used to finance required machinery, raw materials, consulting, and training costs.
Sandra Kramer, director for Africa at the Directorate General for International Partnerships of the European Commission, said the pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities in existing global supply chains for vaccines, medicines and health technology products. COVID-19 has also emphasised how much Africa relies on international imports.
Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Annelene Bremer said her government was ready to support projects it believed were innovative, sustainable and capable of creating jobs.
“This joint project of SADC, EU and Germany responds to the increased regional demand for personal protective equipment and clothing during the pandemic and the need by small and medium-sized enterprises to recover from the economic downturn,” she said.
Cally Clothing was one of the numerous companies in the region that responded to a call for proposals for grant support last year, under the SIPS programme.