The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says this year’s Malawi international trade fair is expected to be held between May 24 and June 3 under the theme “Industrialisation: Basis for Trade Competitiveness”. The theme, according to MCCCI, has been considered to reflect the need for the Malawi economy to produce and trade in goods with value addition, a scenario deemed possible through Industrialisation. GEORGE MHANGO engages MCCCI’s Head of Communications, MILLIE KASUNDA for an update on the matter.
What are the objectives of the fair?
The main objective of the Trade Fair is to provide a platform for local and international participants to showcase their goods and services to potential customers and network with patrons and other participants. The International Trade Fair also allows local and international exhibitors share information on business in their respective countries and develop linkages with suppliers and customers across the borders.
What is the theme for this year’s fair?
The fair will run under the theme “Industrialisation: Basis for Trade Competitiveness” which has been considered to reflect the need for the Malawi economy to produce and trade in goods with value addition, a scenario that is possible through industrialisation. As you are aware, Malawi is, to a large extent, import dependent and, therefore, due to the balance of payments deficit, subject to high input costs rendering our products uncompetitive on the international market.
In the absence of significant value- adding activities, Malawi will invariably continue to be reduced to a net exporter of jobs to the rest of the world. This year’s theme thus focuses on the need to adopt a more export –oriented industrialisation as basis for achieving trade competitiveness. It calls for trade and economic policies that speed up the industrialisation process to propel exportation of high value processed goods. Industrialisation is therefore fundamental to attain trade competitiveness for the Malawi economy.
But how prepared is MCCCI to hosting the event?
We are optimistic of 100 percent participation of local and international exhibitors, as we continue receiving applications every day to participate in the fair. The rate of applications for participation is very likely to accelerate as we draw towards the May 11 2018, being the last day of receiving applications.
We have also planned a working dinner on May 24 2018 to be graced by Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Henry Mussa to allow him interact with exhibitors and business executives where he would explain some of the public policies which seek to enhance productivity of the Malawian businesses.
We have ex tended an invitation to Ambassadors and High Commissioners resident in Malawi to visit the fair to allow them sample the Malawi economy under one roof and seek their support to encourage businesses from their countries to participate at the future Malawi International Trade Fair events. We will have such dignitaries on different days to keep the momentum up throughout the fair period.
We are arranging Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Group (B2G) match making meetings to allow businesses have thorough business discussion or presentations to interest groups.
Are there plans to hold business workshops during the event?
As a way of information dissemination which will form an integral part in the improvement of businesses, and in line with this year’s theme: Industrialisation: Basis for Trade Competitiveness, workshops and seminars will be organised where the following organisations are anticipated to make presentations:
i Export Development Fund (EDF)
ii Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS)
iii Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA)
iv Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
v African Development Bank.
vi Tevet Authority
vii FDH Bank
Let me add that two days, May 28 and 29 2018 have been set aside to allow exhibitors to invite business executives to visit their exhibitions and discuss business issues. We have set aside two days, May 30 and 31, 2018 to allow schools particularly from Blantyre and neighbouring districts to bring the learners to patronise the trade fair because the leaners are future business captains and therefore they need to start grasping the business concepts while still young.