Civil society group calls for youth friendly  business start-up requirements 

By Bester Kayaye

My Community, My Responsibility (MCMRO), a local civil society group, says that apart from the economic depression being experienced across the world, some of Malawi’s policies contribute to the country’s stagnation as they do not support youth participation by offering conducive business start-up incentives.

The organisation’s director, Brian Khembo, says prohibitive business regulatory requirements frustrates aspiring youths from registering and operating formal businesses in the country.

Khembo told Mining and Trade Review  that MCMR will soon be engaging government to consider revising some business regulatory policies that pose unreasonable challenges to setting up businesses.

He points out that one of the challenges include business certification processes which he says does not support youth economic transformation.

“Young entrepreneurs and youth led organisations in Malawi are finding it difficult to operate in Malawi due to unrealistic lengthy and costly business regulatory processes,” Khembo says noting that the development is retrogressive to fighting the country’s high unemployment levels.

“There are business registration requirements which expect a start-up by an upcoming entrepreneur to possess similar facilities and liquidity with an established entity before getting a business license,” he observes citing challenges encountered by the youth-led businesses that want to enter the financial industry, regulated by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of Malawi. 

Khembo says to tackle some of these challenges, MCMR has launched a project dubbed “youth empowerment and entrepreneurship initiative,” aimed at highlighting youth business obstacles including human rights. 

Meanwhile, as one way of fighting for the economic rights of the youth, MCMRO has proposed for a Solidarity March to show that it stands with young entrepreneurs in Malawi.

Khembo says the march highlight the plight of Kondwani Phiri, CEO of Greenlights Portfolio, who is said to have been dragged to court by the Reserve Bank of Malawi for allegedly operating in the financial sector without a license. 

“We are of the opinion that this is a compliance issue, which the RBM would have just advised,” he opines.

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