Chakwera pins hopes on Africa free trade area

President Lazarus Chakwera has said African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers a huge opportunity to promoting trading among African Union (AU) member states.

Chakwera attending AU meeting virtually pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

He said this in Lilongwe at the end of the 13th Extraordinary Session of African continental Trade for African Union (AU) Head of State and Governments conducting virtually.

Chakwera said the establishment of the AfCFTA opens up to improve trading among African countries by removing trade barriers which were preventing the free flow of goods and services.

He said member states have agreed to implement the initiative from January 1, 2021 while still looking out some of the outstanding issues which need to be resolved.

“We need to deal with trade policies which have huge impact to the lives of women and youth in many countries. The opening up of trade among countries offers great window of hope in order to integrate, industrialize and transform the continent,” the President said.

He added that all necessary instruments need to be put in place and counties should continue to negotiate for win-win situation for the African continent to benefit.

Chakwera said members have requested to submit their traffics for review so that they should be on equal footing in the implementation of the initiative.

He said the continental free trade area requires the support of regional grouping of Southern African Development Community (SADC), West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) and East African Community for it to flourish,”

Chakwera hoped that the private sector within the continent and Malawi in particular would take the opportunity accelerate trading windows made available to them in order expand more.

He said during the opening of the meeting, it was noted that the private sector still remain the engine of propel trading in the continent.

“The private sector drives trade and have the capacity to make Africa grow for the benefit of its people,” Chakwera said.

The President said member states should have similar spirit of taking advantage of the available opportunities to explore and do more trade amongst them.

Malawi’s Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs attended the virtual meeting.

Chairperson of AU and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa chaired the meeting,

AfCFTA has the capacity to exploit the 1.2 billion people African market.

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Mdala
Mdala
7 months ago

This is of course a challenge to do better in terms of poduction, quality etc!
Let’s come out of the comfort zone and compete with the rest of our African sisters and brothers!

Manyalira Mhone
7 months ago

As if Malawi produces anything. As a net consumer, Malawi stands to benefit nothing from such a free trade area. We will keep losing forex because of our insatiable appetite for foreign products when we don’t produce anything.

Vintonono
Vintonono
7 months ago

This initiative is a total opposite of all high economies and developed countries that had followed the industrialization route and protected all their products and that’s exactly how they got to grow their economies….looks at us we have nothing and still want to join Afcfta as if we have anything to sell out…..all we are doing is digging Malawis grave by letting buy Malawi die for now..these fellas will storm our markets and make lots of money from our pockets let alone our governments pocket and leave us in Rags worse than before……no Malawian product will flourish with this so… Read more »

Erik P
Erik P
7 months ago
Reply to  Vintonono

There are plans for increased electricity supply from hydropower. I’m hoping that much of this will go into processing so we can sell more than just rain fed agricultural products. One advantage Malawi has is cheap labour, but our main disadvantage is poor mechanisation.

It’s definitely true that Europe developed initially with some form of protectionism, but that was a different era. Malawi is still importing lots of foreign goods, mostly driven by wealthy people. There’s two economies in Malawi. What we need to do is encourage the rich to buy Malawi and to slowly build an industrial base.

Smic
Smic
7 months ago
Reply to  Vintonono

Wow, that’s very persimistic and regressive thinking. This will push not just MW but the rest of the continent to produce products, services and foodstuff that are competitive enough across the boarder. We have to be progressive and be optimistic. The question to ask yourself when is the right time for Africa? When you hear the stories if billionaires you find the a took a chance plus this is no different to European Union Market.

Thengo-Li-Weta
Thengo-Li-Weta
7 months ago

This is a very narrow view of economic integration. How can one say Malawi stands to benefit nothing from Africa’s free trade area? Palitu zinthu zambiri involved in a free trade area. Think about service as a commodity. Malawi could easily say to the so called rich countries; come over here and set your production factories here where you will pay half the production bill as compared in your countries! We have seen this happening in the EU where poor European countries have attracted huge investment through setting up new production sites in these countries. In turn, the economies of… Read more »

Catch 22
Catch 22
7 months ago

Govt must put mechanism to detect and stop dumping by industrialised neighbours. One example illovo company is already struggling to compete against foreign sugar, and if you free up the local market expect local businesses to suffer.

Mzozodo
Mzozodo
7 months ago
Reply to  Catch 22

Anti dumping measures are there, of course the remedy takes a bit longer, to the disadvantage of the complainant. By the time WTO allows you to set anti-dumping measures, the local industry mostly has already suffered

Kanchenga
Kanchenga
7 months ago
Reply to  Mzozodo

And specific to our case the person managing such measures are so corrupt they might as well no be there

Kumzy kumzy
Kumzy kumzy
7 months ago
Reply to  Mzozodo

competition is good it keeps the price down

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