Malawi commence National Export Policy 2 consultative meetings

Various business captains and stakeholders are holding a two day consultative meeting this week aimed at soliciting inputs towards the design of the National Export Policy (NES) 2 which is expected to guide the export sector in the next five years.

Group photo for stakeholders to the conference: Building Malawi’s competitiveness in the regional markets

The workshop involves high level panel discussions centring on the themes: ‘Tuning up to an export led sustainable, inclusive and equitable growth strategy’ and ‘Building Malawi’s competitiveness in the regional markets’.

The meeting is also expected to explore solutions to overcome challenges facing these sectors.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Dr Ken Ndala said during the opening ceremony the NES 2 aims to capitalise on achievements of NES 1 which, upon expiry, provided legal frameworks of upcoming export strategies.

NES 1 aimed at raising exports as a share of imports from 51.5 per cent in 2010 to 75.7 per cent 2017.

However, this did not materialise by expiry of NES 1 in 2018. There was only an average of 32.6 per cent for exports as share imports and 4.2 per cent for the rate of growth of exports in value terms.

“Despite a number of challenges in implementing the NES, we still registered some notable achievements like development of the trade, Industrial and SMEs Policies; Control of Goods Act; operationalisation of the Buy Malawi Strategy and National Trade Facilitation Action Plan amongst others.

“From these achievements, you can agree with me that the implementation of NES I has provided legal frameworks for a smoother implementation of the upcoming NES.

“What remains is, therefore, to build on the achievements as we move forward in designing of the new NES,” said Ndala.

He, however, said it was important to finalise the key investments that were supposed to be undertaken under NES I as well as deal with emerging issues that will be identified in NES 2.

He, therefore, urged participants to the meeting and other upcoming consultative meetings to provide creative inputs, saying this will assist in coming up with a comprehensive and realistic strategy.

Ndala, however, said the meeting should not end by only providing inputs, but rather; all stakeholders in the public sector, the private sector, development partners, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Academia, the Civil Society and the public should be part of the policy implementation.

“For NES 2 to achieve its intended purpose; there is need for close collaboration among all stakeholders.

“But one important thing is to realize that having a new NES document is one thing, but implementation is another.

“I, therefore, implore you to contribute effectively to this process, own it, and fully take part in its implementation.

In her remarks, Commonwealth Trade Adviser, Olayinka Bandele, said her organization has been engaging the Malawi Government in this (export) sector for a couple of years including during the implementation of NES 1 and a review process, and design of NES 2.

She said describing NES 1 as a failure depends on the perspective one is taking bearing in mind that in any process, there is an opportunity to learn.

“From our perspective, if Malawi has not learnt from what went wrong in their view in NES 1, then you would say it is a failure.

“But if Malawi is able to move forward and take the lessons learnt from that export strategy design and implementation process, then they have not failed because every step you take is a step in the right direction,” she said.

She, however, added that the Commonwealth remains committed to supporting member countries, including Malawi’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including through trade.

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I will be exporting my exports during NES 2.