Industry sceptical on Africa benefits


Private sector players have asked the government to formulate a clear roadmap on creating a conducive business environment in the country before ratifying the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement.

Provisions of the continental trade pact are expected to be operationalised on January 1 2021 in some countries.

The AfCTA will see different countries in Africa trading for free by removing taxes and other charges on imports and exports.


Malawi, an agrarian economy, has an infant manufacturing sector, producing a few commodities for export market due to, among other factors, high cost of production, persistent energy woes and high transportation costs.

Speaking during a stakeholder meeting between the Ministry of Trade officials and private sector players on Friday, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Director of Business Environment and Policy Advocacy Madalitso Kazembe said, if some challenges affecting productivity were not ironed out, Malawi would not make the most of the AfCTA.

“Government needs to make sure that it brings in incentives to ensure that the manufacturing sector becomes more productive, ensure that it looks at taxation issues, look at issues affecting growth such as smuggling and also look at creating an enabling environment,” Kazembe said.


The meeting aimed at discussing Market Access Offer, where the private sector was debriefed on categories of trade.

Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Trade Christina Zakeyo said, after the meeting, officials would have insight into how to move forward.

She added that the reviewed National Export Strategy is expected to help resolve some of the challenges that private sector players are facing.

“We are reviewing our National Exports Strategy which is expected to be launched early next year and we have also engaged different ministries that are responsible for different sectors to rectify problems,” she said.

The initiative is being supported by the European Union (EU)’s Economic, Trade and Governance.

According to the team leader for the section Jose Navarro, given that Malawi was crawling in different sectors, the country stood to benefit more because this will help boost its economy.

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