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Malawi Minister lobbies for certification of export products

April 06, 2023 / Wahard Betha

The Malawi Government has urged exporters in the country to have their products certified by the state of the art laboratory being operated by Malawi Bureau of Standard (MBS) to ensure that the local products are consumable as well as compete on the international market.

Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola made the remarks at the Malawi Exporters Awards conference in Lilongwe which was organized by Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) under the theme ‘Rewarding Excellence, Unlocking Global Exports.’

Chithyola said the laboratory has the potential of driving local products away from the embarrassment of being sent back when exported to outside market due to being substandard.

He said: “It is a major concern when Malawian products are declared not good for consumption when exported.”

“But now we have state of the art laboratory which is being managed by MBS which makes sure that we improve in terms of standard and quality.”

“As Ministry, we would like to urge those exporting products that they should certify with MBS to avoid embarrassment.”

The Malawi Exporters Awards aims at influencing local producers to be exporting local products in order to attract foreign exchange into the country.

Responding on the exposure of the local products to possible foreign buyers, Chithyola disclosed that the Ministry is committed to support the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in finding international markets.

Chithyola said: “We are now operationalizing the National Export Strategy II which creates conducive environment for exports.”

“At the same we are also coming up with policies and legal and regulatory frameworks which favours those doing businesses.”

“To ensure access to information, we have set up a market intelligence strategy where by people are able to get markets through the Ministry or by just visiting our website.”

In his presentation, MITC Chief Executive Officer Paul Kwengwere said his institution organized the awards to address a number of business constraints being faced in the sector.

Kwengwere said the programme will help in raising awareness of export potential of services and goods that SMEs produces in the country.

He said: “We have organized this event to share export opportunities with the business community and also build export readiness through counselling and motivational sessions.”

“At the same time we are trying to increase awareness of government policies and strategies to grow Malawi’s export base.”

In his remarks, Executive Director for Ecobank Limited Weluzani Chingota said the bank will continue providing support towards alleviating some of the challenges that SMEs are facing in the sector.

Chingota acknowledged that SMEs in the country are facing challenges including: lack of financial support, lack of markets, lack of reliable water and power supply and; higher dependency on rain fed products.

He said Ecobank has introduced continental single market trade hub to help countries endure the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

He said: “The African continent’s single market, established through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), has created exciting opportunities to foster intra-African trade and investment.”

“At Ecobank, we have launched the Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub to help SMEs grow their business under the AfCFTA.”

In 2021, the Malawi Government launched National Export Strategy II (NES II) which will run from 2021 to 2026 with the target of increasing exports of ‘Made in Malawi’ products and services by 22% 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.

The new strategy has prioritized specific markets for the region and internationally with a focus on capitalizing CFTA and emerging markets in which Malawi has potential to export competitively.

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