Malawi launches export strategy: JB announces ‘concrete actions’

President Joyce Banda launched the National Export Strategy (NES) on Friday in Lilongwe, announcing “concrete actions to turn the vision of the National Export Strategy into a reality”.

NES gives Malawi a complete road map for how it can best attain faster economic growth through increased exports in value terms from nine percent per year between 2001 and 2011 to 14 percent per year from 2013 to 2017, translating into an increase from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $2.5 billion by 2017 and $5.6 billion by 2027.

“I will in due course designate an Export Promotion Cabinet Task Team to oversee the implementation of the NES. Second, we will intensify Public-Private Dialogue and create innovative Public-Private Partnerships to help firms break into new opportunities. Third, we shall streamline the processes and eliminate unnecessary obstacles that inhibit exporters. Fourth, we shall invest in institutions, human capital and economic infrastructure that support the export agenda,” President Banda said.

She said the NES is about economic empowerment of Malawians and that through expanding into value addition, skilled jobs with good wages will be created.

President Mrs Joyce Banda appriciating some of the products ready for export during the launch of the Malawi National Export Strategy

“Through diversifying our agricultural sector and increasing our exports we will move from subsistence farming to taking farming as a business,” said the President, but warned that this transformation would not happen overnight.

“We will need to be both focused and strategic in the pursuit of our goals. We need a change of mindset. And if we unite together as a country, I know that we can lift Malawi out of poverty, through our own hard work, perseverance and strength of character,” she said.

Speaking during the same function, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Malawi, Naomi Kitahara, said the National Export Strategy (NES) will serve as one of the valuable frameworks for contributing to the Government’s efforts of transforming Malawi “from a predominantly consuming and importing economy into a producing and exporting economy”.

She said that in order to address the binding constraints on development, Malawi needs to grow and generate the required foreign exchange.

“There is no better time than now to embark on actionable resolutions to achieve the country’s development aspirations. Given the reduction in foreign exchange receipts from tobacco and a widening trade balance, the imperative for increased competitiveness and diversification of the economy is now more critical than ever.

“We believe beyond doubt that the NES will provide an effective framework for Malawi’s export led and inclusive growth agenda. The UN and other Development Partners will continue supporting Malawi in achieving its development goals, and more in this case supporting export-led and inclusive economic growth that is pro-poor and is not gender blind,” said Kitahara.

The UNDP representative noted the NES is one of the important vehicles designed to contribute to poverty reduction and achievement of Millennium Development Goals through employment creation, income generation and overall economic development

“There will be need for strong public-private partnerships and continued collaboration. It is our expectation that Government will keep working closely with the private sector to deliver on the expectations of the NES. Development Partners remain very supportive of this strategic partnership and encourage local ownership,” she said, disclosing that Malawi’s Development Partners, in particular the EU, DFID and UNDP have already committed resources of approximately USD 28 Million for kick-starting the Implementation Mechanism.

“I trust this is only the beginning of strong commitments and concerted efforts towards the implementation of the NES, which is a shared vision and as such a shared responsibility,” said Kitahara.

Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe left, and explaining to the media what the National Export Strategy is all about

A cross section of guests at the launch of the Malawi National Export Strategy. pic by Felix Washon/Mana.

Exportable Local products desplayed at the Malawi National Export Launch at the Bingu International Conference Centre.

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