President Peter Mutharika has reiterated his dream of turning the country from importing to an exporting one and has since challenged traders and producers to never compromise on quality if the world is to believe in Malawian products.
Mutharika has also reiterated the dream of ending the country’s continued dependency on donor aid by improving trade through the Buy Malawi initiative as well as supporting the private sector’s growth.
Speaking during the official opening of the 29th Malawi International Trade Fair at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds, in Blantyre on Wednesday, Mutharika said was determined on moving the country from aid to trade.
“We gather to tell the world that, yes, we can produce good things in Malawi. We come to meet with industry partners and customers to form strategic partnerships. We gather to appreciate market trends. This year, we have come to focus on productivity as a source of export competitiveness,” said Mutharika.
He said it was his vision to move Malawi from an importing and consuming nation to become a predominantly producing and exporting nation.
“It is time for the whole of Africa to migrate from aid to trade. We believe we can do it because we can. We can make this African region the trade basket of the world. But the world we want to invade with our exports will not be sitting back and watching us advance. There is a war of competition in the global market.
“Therefore, our strategy should be to improve the quantity and quality of our productivity. Let them buy from us, not because we are Africans, or Malawians. Let them buy our products because we have produced irresistibly the best. And we know we can do because we can.”
Mutharika has since urged the removal of trade barriers if Malawi is to successfully integrate into global trade, adding that countries are currently devising instruments to remove tariffs and other barriers ad that Malawi should follow suit.
“This means countries with less productivity and poor export quality will be out-competed. They will be out of the race. If we must survive, we have no choice but to adopt internal strategies that will support our businesses to rise in export and competitiveness.
“We have no choice but to support our private sector to grow. Malawi needs a smaller Government, and a bigger private sector. And it must be a highly competitive private sector. It must be a highly innovative private sector,” he added.
Mutharika has challenged entrepreneurs to be innovative and be more creative if are to be competitive and break through into foreign markets.
“Now I want to see more support of our local manufacturing. Let us “Buy Malawi” more than ever. The more we “Buy Malawi,” the more we empower our private sector to grow, the more we create jobs for the Youth and us all. The more we “Buy Malawi,” the more we create businesses for our people. And that is the way of patriotism.”
He disclosed that his administration will proceed to ensure that 30% of public procurement is reserved for local products.
“We will continue improving the economy so that we create a business environment conducive for businesses. We will continue implementing productive macroeconomic policies in order to bring down inflation and interest rates far lower than you can imagine. We will continue with our skills development programme because Malawi needs a skilled labour force. No country can develop without a skilled labour force.
“We will continue to create enhanced access to finance with a fully functioning Development Bank. We will provide support to the Export Development Fund because that is good for the private sector. We will continue to disburse matching grants to Small and Medium Enterprises because that is critical to the growth of the private sector,” said Mutharika.
He then applauded himself for turning the economy around after being devastated by the effects of Cashgate, adding he has managed to restore confidence in the country’s economic management as well as end the energy shortages.
Malawi’s economy is stabilizing with inflation rate dropping to 15.80% from 16.10% since January this year. The Inflation rate was at 21.50% in May, 2016 and rose to as high as 23.50% in July same year.
The inflation is expected to continue to drop due to good harvest this year coupled by smooth tobacco sales currently underway and minimized electricity outages apart from resumption of donor aid with the coming in of World Bank budgetary support.
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) organized the trade fare which is to run from 24th May to June 3rd, 2017. The fare will include business workshops to allow exhibitors, members of private sector and potential buyers to learn more from some of the services which are being offered by various institutions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :