The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has called for private sector revitalisation if Malawi is to benefit from the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The private sector mouthpiece has said poor energy infrastructure coupled with challenges in the manufacturing sector remain major barriers for Malawi to reap the most of the pact.
MCCCI Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira was speaking in Blantyre on Friday on the sidelines of a sensitisation seminar on the AfCFTA to private sector players led by Minister of Trade, Henry Mussa.
He said Malawi needs to rejuvenate its manufacturing industry lest it becomes a dumping site.
He said Malawi has failed to make the most of other free trade area agreements under the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
“For sure there is some capacity, but we are not competitive enough. We have gone into so many agreements, but we have not fully exploited the benefits under these agreements,” Kaferapanjira said.
He said only banking on agriculture for competitiveness would not be ideal for the country.
According to Kaferapanjira, creating a sound policy framework for private sector to thrive is ideal if Malawi is to realise more fruits from its participation in the treaty.
“The major source of competitiveness is availability of electricity, but unfortunately, that is what we don’t have. To take advantage of these markets, we need to export high value products. And these are things we have to work on,” said Kaferapanjira.
In his address Mussa said the treaty stands to benefit the economy.
He called on the private sector to be aggressive if it is to remain competitive.
“The AfCFTA has accommodated Malawi’s interests. Let me [therefore] urge the private sector to take it positively by being proactive in seizing every opportunity available,” Mussa said.
Malawi is among the 44 African countries that signed the treaty in Kigali, Rwanda.