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Belgium, Germany among Malawi’s top export targets

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

The international trade index on Trade Map has shown that Belgium and Germany remained the top two markets for Malawian products after they bought goods worth $211.2 million (about K158 billion) and $134.9 million (about K101 billion) in 2018, respectively.

Russia, South Africa and the United States are some of the export partners for Malawi making the top five, with Russia replacing the Netherlands, which was among the top five in 2017.

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On the African continent, Malawi’s top five export partners include South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Total exports to the world in 2018 accounted for $975 million (about K731 billion) while exports to Africa accounted for $173.7 million (about K130 billion).

Malawi has been ranked 158 in the world on the list of exporting nations.

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Amid several interventions, Malawi’s trade gap with the rest of the world remains wide.

Analysts have been attributing the situation to policy failure.

African Institute of Corporate Citizenship Project Manager for Market Access, Leonard Chimwaza, said there was need for Malawi to intensify export diversification efforts to stop over-reliance on the top four export commodities like tobacco, sugar, tea and coffee.

He said government needs to clearly describe the special physical and technical characteristics of other potential export products, production conditions and problems and share the notes with potential exporters at all times.

“Technocrats must analyse the supply situation, production volumes, domestic processing or domestic consumption, supply to be expected, and the factors influencing exports of the products. There is also need for investigation into the demand situation in international markets,” Chimwaza said.

The country’s exports grew by 9 percent in 2018 after recording an export value of $975 million compared to $889 million recorded in 2017.

A five-year National Export Strategy the government formulated some years back was aimed at raising a share of imports from 51.5 percent recorded in 2010 to 75.7 percent in 2017and 93.4 percent in 2022.

The strategy prioritised three export-oriented clusters for diversification; oil seeds products, sugarcane and manufactures.

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