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Hopes high on export strategy

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Trade and Industry Minister Mark Katsonga Phiri has expressed hope that the National Export Strategy (Nes) II, which was launched in December 2021, will bear the desired fruit of turning Malawi into an export-led economy.

Katsonga has since urged industry players to up their game if they are to be competitive.

He was speaking in Mzuzu on Monday at the training of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on product certification and standardisation organised by Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).

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He said Nes II targets to increase exports of locally made products and services through export promotion, export development, export facilitation and organisation efficiency and effectiveness.

“We have to work together so that this export strategy makes sense in the short, medium and long terms.

“Now, the opening up of Africa as a single free trade area, coupled with having the export strategy in place, I can see a lot of benefits and I am personally geared for it,” he said.

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The AfCFTA will present a major opportunity to African countries bring over 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.

MBS Director General Symon Mandala said the bureau has trained about 243 entrepreneurs and expects to reach out to 304 business people by the end of the year.

Mandala said the aim is help entrepreneurs produce standard products which would be competitive on block and international market.

“Most SMEs have been doing the opposite where they start working on something and then come to us for standardisation. So, most times, they were being sent back which was delaying them and becoming costly,” he said.

Rodrick Chatayika, Chief Executive Officer for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute, concurred with Mandala, saying, if SMEs can get their products standardised, it would be easier for them to penetrate the market.

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