Government challenges exporters
Trade Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda has challenged the business community to take advantage of trade pacts that Malawi has signed to grow the country’s exports.
Chithyola Banda said this in Lilongwe Wednesday at the start of the 2023 National Exporters Awards.
The minister said Malawi is deeply integrated into the world market through its comprehensive network of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements.
Among other things, Chithyola Banda said goods made in Malawi enjoy preferential market access, predominantly duty free and quota free, into the European Union under the Everything But Arms initiative; and the United States of America (USA) under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.
He added that the goods also have access to the African sub-continent through its membership to the Southern African Development Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Malawi also benefits from preferential market access under Generalised Scheme of Preferences and as a Least Developed Country.
“In this regard, exporters should be focusing on diversifying their exports into non-traditional African markets. These markets are Arab Magherb Union, Economic Community of Central African States, Economic Community of West African States and Community of Sahel- Saharan States, among others,” Chithyola Banda said.
He observed that the government has, through National Export Strategy II, identified products and services that have good opportunities and high potential to succeed in the regional and international market.
“These value chains include food crops, value added horticulture, wood and wooden products, livestock and fisheries. Once developed fully, the identified products will assist in improving the value of exports for Malawi.
“This government takes export trade seriously and has deployed trade experts to a number of countries which include USA, United Kingdom. India, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan Belgium, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya,” Chithyola Banda said.
The 2023 Malawi Exporters Awards, which has been organised by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC), has brought together producers in various fields to bang heads on how to boost exports.
The Malawi Exporters Awards come at a time Malawi continues to face a huge trade deficit of about $2 billion, with annual imports standing at $3 billion, dwarfing exports at $1 billion.
MITC Chief Executive Officer Paul Kwengwere said his organisation is committed to seeing a significant growth in the country’s exports.
Kwengwere said growth in exports could help solve the problem of shortage of foreign exchange that the country has been facing in recent years.
Ecobank Executive Director Weluzani Chingota said his bank is happy to partner the government in the Exporters Awards.
According to Chingota, his bank is committed to seeing many Malawians taking part in the export business.