Comesa strategy touted to enhance local industrialisation

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism says the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) industrial strategy is set to enhance the country’s industrialisation.

In a statement, Comesa secretariat said the implementation of the strategy started last week following approval of an action plan and regional guidelines on local content policy.

Through the strategy, Malawi will jointly implement industrialisation projects with fellow Comesa member States.

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said in a written response yesterday that the approved strategy means that Malawi can begin to realign and integrate national industrial plans and local content policies to the regional guidelines.

“Malawi can, therefore, cooperate with fellow member States in the area of industrial development. This will be achieved by, among other things, incentivising companies that are adhering to local content policies,” he said.

University of Malawi’s Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kaluwa cautioned against losing the opportunity, saying the country has been performing badly on intra-regional trade.

He said: “This is good news, but we should look at strategies on ensuring that we diversify our exports as a country, for instance, through intra-industry trade.”

The specific targets of the Comesa Industrialisation Strategy (2017-2026) are to increase value-added products and exports as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) from the current nine percent to 29 percent by 2026.

It also intends to increase the share of manufacturing to GDP to at least 20 percent by 2026 and increase intra-regional manufactured exports relative to total manufactured imports to the region from the current seven percent to 20 percent by 2026.

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