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Be brave, expert tells local industry

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An international trade expert has challenged local private sector players to focus on becoming competitive other than crying for protection if Malawi is to tap into the available market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Moses Tekere of COWI Belgium SPRL Consultants, said the industry should focus on bringing to the market competitive products and services.

This follows a meeting between government and stakeholders held in Blantyre that focused on tariff lines the country would offer under the pact for some selected products.

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Tekere said Malawi had a great chance to benefit from the pact since most African countries were importing products which Malawi produces from outside Africa.

He outlined products such as tobacco, tea, coffee and textiles which could fetch more forex for the country.

“There is a future for the products that Malawi is currently producing including maize, peas and all agriculture products.

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“At the end of the day, what Malawians need to know is that Africa is opening up the market and there will be competition. For example, South Africa will be competing with Malawi for the same DRC market, so Malawians should be proactive to enter into all those new markets because if someone goes in first, they take a market share,” Tekere said.

Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said the government will continue engaging private sector players on how to handle products made from imported raw materials to gain Malawi-made status.

“We are calling upon the private sector to ensure that they are adding value and using locally available resources in the country,” Msokera said.

He said, as the pact is operational, local producers are at liberty to start utilising it.

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