Chakwera touts NES II as a tool for exploiting untapped regional trade opportunities

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has described the second National Export Strategy (NES II) as a tool that will enable Malawi to exploit untapped opportunities in the various bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements.

Chakwera made the sentiments on Thursday when he virtually launched the strategy at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

NES II is a product of the Ministry of Trade in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and in partnership with the Commonwealth and EIF Project.

The purpose of the launch is to disseminate the Strategy and its actions to all the sectors and actors in the economy so as to kick-start its implementation inclusively, according to a joint statement from the two ministries and its partners.

President Chakwera said the strategy could not come at a better time than now when Malawi Malawi’s need for exports is at its greatest, as the tobacco industry can no longer guarantee the much needed forex to sustain our import bill.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera by Lisa Kadango

“As such, we need to identify products that can adequately complement our tobacco exports, as well as remove the bottlenecks bedeviling our private sector’s capacity to diversify our exports. I am therefore confident that once we do this, the trade balance will tilt in our favour, leading to the creation of jobs and wealth; the enhancement of our revenue collection; the unlocking of foreign currency inflows; and above all, lifting millions of our rural people out of abject poverty,” he said.

The goal of the export strategy is four-fold, thus; to make Malawi a producer of competitive products that are in demand in the region and beyond; to make Malawi compliant with regional and international standards of production; to make Malawi a diversified economy as we transition out of our reliance on Tobacco as a major export earner; and finally to make Malawi a Sustainable Sourcing Destination, with more and more people buying from Malawi.

Chakwera pledged his administration’s full commitment to supporting the successful implementation of this NES II.

“In fact, we have already began rendering our support in a number of ways that are worth highlighting. For starters, I have already established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Export Diversification that oversees the implementation of the National Export Agenda, chaired by the Minister of Finance, which meets fortnightly. This committee has a Technical Task Force Committee Chaired by the Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet (DSPC), to ensure that matters on the export agenda are dealt with speed. This InterMinisterial Committee and its Technical Task Force is part of the TPSWAp Governance Structure and will oversee the implementation of the Strategy and report to my Office,” he said.

The President disclosed that his government has reviewed the Export Promotion and Investment Facilitation Bill, which will be tabled in the next seating of Parliament. The Bill also capacitates the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) to effectively execute its mandate of export promotion and investment facilitation.

Chakwer further stated that he has ordered the establishment of the Mining Authority and establishment of a structured market for mining and minerals.

“This will ensure that mining sector accounts for a large percentage of our exports as expected in the National Export Strategy II. As a result, trade in gold under the auspices of the Ministry of Mining and the Reserve Bank of Malawi is progressing well. Fourthly, we are implementing Flagship Projects that will provide a mechanism through which resources for the implementation of NES II will be mobilized and channeled.

“The projects cover various initiatives on export promotion, export development and diversification, enhancing competiveness, and creation of an enabling environment. I would like to appeal to the Development Partners to support these initiatives; Fifthly, to lower export and imports costs, and ensure that Malawi’s exports are competitive in the regional and international markets, My Government is investing in the most efficient transport corridors, with a special focus on the railway transport infrastructure development. This reduction in exports and imports costs will attract more investors to our country, thereby investing in the NES II prioritized sectors, which are Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services, and Mining,” he narrated.

In order to diversify export markets, Chakwera said his government has intensified export drive by concluding a number of profitable bilateral, regional and multilateral trade arrangements, which includes: MOU with South Sudan, where 187 thousand metric tons of maize flour is being exported to Sudan in addition to beans, rice, sugar and others; MOU with India for exports of Dhall and Pigeon Peas; Draft MOU with DRC to promote exports of Poultry and Poultry Products, Rice amongst others; Ratified the African Free Trade Continental Area (AfCFTA) Agreement that will link Malawi to all African Countries, where there were no specific trade arrangements before.

Additionally, the government has embarked on the establishment of Special Economic Zones in all the three regions of the country in order to revamp the manufacturing sector.

The President expressed optimism that these will facilitate investments in priority industries as well as the locals who will solely produce for exports.

Chakwera called upon development partners, private sector, civil society, farmer organizations, small and medium enterprises, including women and youth groups to embrace their role in the implementation process.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said for Malawi to reach a target of doubling our exports, the country needs huge investments in the energy sector.

Gwenggwe said his ministry will therefore work very hard and closely with the Ministry of Energy to attract more investors in the energy sector so as to realize our dream of raising the contribution of exports to gross domestic product to 20 percent.

“Recognizing that Malawi is an agro-based economy, and also Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is responsible for the development of most products prioritized in the NES II, the importance of working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation cannot be overemphasized. To ensure that Malawi produces enough for the markets that My Ministry will secure and secured, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has to double its efforts. I, therefore, commit to jointly work with the Ministry Agriculture the culture of underexploiting our market opportunities should be a thing of the past,” he said.

Gwengwe added that his ministry will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to ensure that Malawi makes use of diplomatic asset for economic development.

A statement issued ahead of the launch said that NES II also aims to “unlock Malawi’s full export potential” and to contribute towards achieving Malawi’s Malawi 2063 vision by strengthening existing industries and accelerate the emergence of new export-oriented manufacturing and value-added services, ensuring that Malawian firms and Made in Malawi products are competitive and compliant to regional and international standard exigencies.

“NES II target is to increase exports of “Made in Malawi” products and services by 22 percent in the next five years through export promotion, export development, export facilitation and organization efficiency and effectiveness. The focus is on high value strategic products in the four export sectors, namely agriculture, manufacturing, services, and mining. In addition, the new Strategy has prioritized specific markets for the region and international with a focus on capitalising the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and emerging markets in which Malawi has potential to export competitively. The Strategy will be implemented in the period from 2021 to 2026, building on key lessons learned from the National Export Strategy of 2013-2018,” concludes the statement.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
nsabwendiimeneyitu basi.
nsabwendiimeneyitu basi.
2 years ago

Nailed it

2 years ago

Beautiful, simply beautiful! Well done Tonse Alliance. Keep it up Mr President!

Last edited 2 years ago by Gonani
Read previous post:
Old Mutual constructs K2.6bn hostels for KUHES

Old Mutual Limited on Wednesday handed over two magnificent hostels to Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), which the company...