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Malawi shines on World Bank report

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Malawi has sparkled on the latest World Bank Group and the African Competition Forum report titled, Breaking Down Barriers, released last week.

The report, which provides a special focus on competition enforcement and effective market regulatory environments in cement, fertiliser and telecommunications, has revealed that Malawi recorded the least number of perceived barriers to trade in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Malawi replaces South Africa which had the least number of perceived barriers in 2014 and 2015.

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Minister of Trade, Joseph Mwanamvekha, said government is impressed with the outcome of the report.

According to Mwanamvekha, the development shows that the reforms that Capital Hill is putting in place in as far as doing business is concerned are bearing fruits.

“We are excited with the outcome of the report and we will do everything we can to consolidate our position,” said Mwanamvekha.

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The report says boosting competition in consumer markets and key input sectors can help African countries grow faster and alleviate poverty.

The report finds that reducing the prices of basic food staples by just 10 percent, as a result of tackling cartels and improving regulations that limit competition in food markets, could lift nearly half a million people in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia alone out of poverty and save households in these countries over $700 million a year.

World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Senior Manager, Anabel Gonzalez, said strengthened competition policy in Africa not only encourages sustainable economic growth and competitiveness across the continent by creating firms and industries that are more productive, but that it also directly impacts poverty by encouraging firms to deliver the best deals to consumers —particularly the poor— protecting them from paying higher prices for essential goods and services.

The report finds out that, for example, in the cement sector, competition law enforcement, removal of non-tariff barriers, and pro-competition rules to enable entry in limestone and clinker production could save African consumers around $2.5 billion each year.

Chairperson of the African Competition Forum and Commissioner of the South Africa Competition Commission Tembinkosi Bonakele noted that there have been a notable number of countries adopting competition laws in Africa, and this bodes well for growth and development.

“However, while the benefits of competition are already clearly observable in Africa, there is still considerable effort required to ensure effective implementation of competition laws and policies across the continent.

Collaboration among competition authorities in Africa, bilaterally and through the Africa Competition Forum, and with development partners is key to facilitate capacity building of younger authorities, systematize information on competition challenges and opportunities, and address cross-border competition issues that affect the region,” said Bonakele.

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