The 30th Malawi International Trade Fair opened in Blantyre Thursday with calls for increased industrialisation if Malawi is to register accelerated economic growth.
President Peter Mutharika, who officially opened the trade exhibition, said, historically, industrialisation has helped economies to grow.
Mutharika said Africa as a whole must industrialise.
He said his government is doing everything possible to create a conducive environment for private sector growth.
“I am impressed with what I have seen here. I am impressed with what Malawians are capable of doing. Our companies can do great things for Malawi and Africa. But, to achieve all this, we need to industrialise,” he said.
Mutharika further said the country needs a bigger private sector and increased production in order to improve its export base.
“We are improving in terms of our exports as witnessed by improvements in the foreign reserves cover and stable currency. As a country, we will strive hard to remain a producing and exporting nation,” Mutharika said.
The trade fair is being held under the theme, ‘Industrialisation: Basis for Trade Competitiveness.’
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry President, Prince Kapondamgaga, said this year’s theme reflects the need for the country’s economy to produce and trade in goods with value addition, a scenario that is possible through industrialisation.
He said evidence from other parts of the world has shown that industrialisation is a very important means of mopping up unemployment in an economy.
“Malawi is very rich in natural resources and other raw materials. Yet the level of industrialisation is negligible.
“Industrialisation will, therefore, contribute to sustained wealth creation as Malawi’s natural resources and other raw materials will be converted into value-added products for export to the global market,” Kapondamgaga said.
He further said efforts to industrialise the economy have met several challenges resulting in the country exporting unprocessed primary commodities whose prices on the international market are volatile.
Kapondamgaga said this has resulted in Malawi persistently experiencing trade balances, and economic growth whose pattern has not been sustainable.
“As a result of all these, as a country, we have not been able to generate enough jobs to absorb the rapidly growing population,” he said.