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Uneca tips Malawi on leveraging AfCFTA

KAMWENDO—Objective is to foster agricultural transformation

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) has tipped the government to coordinate efforts to enhance the local industry’s competitiveness on the continental market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This came out yesterday during a precursor to the 27th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) which starts today in Blantyre.

The adhoc experts meeting discussed a report on agriculture value chains, linkages and transformation in Southern Africa.

The report indicates that the sector is still largely subsistence and rain-fed, not mechanised, unintegrated with limited capacity and characterised by poor agriculture infrastructure.

It also found that there is limited financing, poor extension services, limited access to markets and un-conducive business environment.

The report recommends holistic and structured approaches to regional agricultural value-chain development and boosting intra-Africa trade in agricultural goods and services

“The objective is to foster agricultural transformation,” the report reads.

Uneca Director for Subregional Office for Southern Africa Eunice Kamwendo said Malawi is on the right path.

“I think it’s important to work in concert with each other, the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that their support, in terms of entrepreneurship development, responds to agriculture development,” Kamwendo said.

During her opening remarks, ECA agriculture value chain chairperson of the 26th ICSOE Bureau Rethabile Maluke said enhanced competitiveness and deepened regional integration through structural transformation would help increase manufactured goods and exports.

“International experience has shown that investing in infrastructure and promoting light manufacturing and value-added exports contributes to industrialisation and mitigation of the adverse effects of export instability and, hence, the need to strengthen value chains across the board.

“This invariably means enhancing the capacities and capabilities of MSMEs to competitively participate in these value chains and enhancing their ability to penetrate the African market,” Maluke said.

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