AfCFTA team engages Malawi over limitations


A team from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat is expected in the country next month to help authorities address technical challenges as the country prepares its tariff book.

The country is yet to join the guided trade initiative under the AfCFTA due to technical challenges.

Eight countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia, have started trading under the pact, under the Guided Trade Initiative, launched on October 7 2022.


In an interview, Wednesday, Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said the tariff book was prepared using outdated guidelines, hence the need for technical support.

“It is basically about aligning our tariff book to the latest HS version which is for 2022. The offers we made in the tariff book were based on the 2019 HS version.

“The (AfCFTA) secretariat advised that a team is going to come to do the amendment together with the local tax authorities which gives hope that, once that is done, there won’t be further delays for its approval,” Msokera said.


South Africa-based international trade exper, who is also Executive Director of Trade Law Centre, Trudi Hartzenburg said Malawi is among many countries that ratified the pact but are yet to commence trading.

“We are not sure yet of the countries expected to join the guided trade in goods and services.

The negotiations are not yet complete; so, not all can trade yet,” Hartzenburg said.

The AfCFTA will be the largest single market in the world with a combined gross domestic product of approximately $3.4 trillion.

It is expected that the AfCFTA will reduce tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers for goods and services and enhance regional competitiveness.

Eventually, this will promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural growth and food security.

Three additional protocols on competition policy, investment and intellectual property have been concluded.

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