Malawi’s newly-appointed Minister of Industry and Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, says the recently launched National Export Strategy (Nes) will unlock private sector productivity in the country.
Explaining the significance of the strategy on Tuesday, the minister said the policy—which was officially launched by President Joyce Banda last month—outlines the importance of creating an enabling environment to unlock private sector productivity in both micro enterprises and large-scale investors,” said the minister.
Gwengwe said the strategy embraces several reforms that will make Malawi one of the best business environments in the world by supporting key institutions that facilitate trade and private sector activity in the economy.
“The strategy calls on government to enhance skills, competencies and knowledge that Malawi requires to empower its growing youth population and drive economic activity.
According to Gwengwe, the strategy will also empower private sector players to take advantage of available trade opportunities in Southern Africa and help the country to narrow its trade gap which has for years weighed heavily in favour of merchandise imports.
Currently, Malawi’s exports are valued at around $1 billion against the import value of about $2.3 billion. The strategy could help the country, dogged by recurring trade deficits, to generate enough foreign currency to finance its critical imports.
“We need to address the underlying issues by increasing our export capacity, raise foreign exchange and reduce our trade deficit,” said the minister.
Gwengwe further explained that Nes is a critical tool to compliment the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), saying the strategy lays a road-map to develop Malawi’s economy.
President Joyce Banda said, when she unveiled the strategy, that the blue-print seeks to double Malawi’s exports in the next five years.
“The success of NES will be determined by policy coherence and comprehensiveness, the degree and quality of policy implementation, communication mechanisms and day-to-day work of stakeholders, including farmers, youth, women, micro and small businesses, large business and government,” said the President.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) president, Matthews Chikankheni, also said during the launch that private sector looks forward to the day when Malawi will increase export activity and realise trade surplus with
the export strategy in place.