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Malawi tipped on services trade under AfCFTA

Mayeso Msokera

CHAYTOR—Malawi could benefit in services trade

An expert in trade in services from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat Beatrice Chaytor has tipped Malawi to revamp the tourism and transport sectors to leverage on opportunities under the pact.

Chaytor arrived in the country on Monday to attend the capacity-building workshop for regulating agencies on negotiation skills in trade in services for the members of negotiating teams and experts.

This comes against a background that trading under the AfCFTA commenced on January 1 2021 including the services protoco. However, there is outstanding work on negotiations of schedules of specific commitments by state parties in the agreed five priority sectors.

The agreed priority sectors include business services, communication services, financial services, tourism and travel and Transport.

Currently, 43 offers on services trade have been submitted to the AfCFTA secretariat.

In an interview Chaytor said Malawi, being a landlocked country, could ease transportation of strategic goods for its neighbours and enhance tourism.

“Malawi has great potential in tourism. As a land-locked country, it also has capacity for transit to enable transportation among its neighbours. So, there is everything to play for in terms of Malawi’s interests in services trade,” Chaytor said.

Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said Malawi is already working on a number of sectors.

“We are completing our schedule of commitment for services trade under the AfCFTA. We submitted our market access offer for goods, but for services negotiations are on-going and now we are trying to build capacity of our trade negotiators.

“There is potential for us to export services. We carried out a study and developed a strategy based on a situation analysis and we discovered that Malawi can export tourism services and skilled labour which can help generate foreign exchange,” Msokera said.

Malawi ratified the AfCFTA agreement in January 2021. However, work is on-going to finalise its offer on trade in services.

Authorities have indicated that Malawi is faced with the challenges of inadequate capacities to successfully realise the AfCFTA.

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