Malawian entrepreneurs have so far traded in various goods including beverages, thermal coal and food stuffs among other things through the business door that has recently opened up in Tete, Mozambique.
The products are not just in form of exports from Malawi, according to Malawi’s Acting High Commissioner to Mozambique, Harry Mononga, but also imports in Malawi from across.
He specifically mentioned products such as rice, groundnuts, flours, biscuits and packaged snacks, plastic products, bottled water and other semi processed products including timber, eggs and meat products.
National Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) member, Fyness Nkanda, has been taking timber to Tete and Nampula and she said she has come to learn that if she carried other items such as tomatoes, rice and onion, for instance, she would easily sell them while she waits for the timber to be sold.
Malawians can also buy for resale products including cement, spaghetti, wines and drinks, fish (kapenta, bakayawo, pende), canned fruits, coal and coal briquettes.
Mononga indicated thus, of the importance of Malawian businesses to go and appreciate the level of investment by various companies in Tete including Vale, Mozambique Leaf and Rio Tinto.
“Vale and Rio are among the four largest mining companies in the world and are involved in Tete coal investment. Malawians should listen to these companies and hear for themselves what opportunities are available next door. This we hope will stimulate our businesspeople rather than just hearing that there are 33 companies in mineral development in Tete,” he said.
He added that business trips to Tete will also enable Malawian business people to meet some public servants from that country who will be able to provide policy related information on issues relating to trade and investment.
“This will lessen unfounded fear to do business in Mozambique. For those who have encountered problems like corruption or discrimination at the hands of law enforcers, this will be the opportunity to open up and see how the issues can be lessened,” he said.
But Nkanda noted that transport is an issue on this route and urged government to look into it.
“We need a bus that goes on the Tete route just as the Malawi-South Africa buses do. There should be a bus connecting Blantyre and Tete as well as Lilongwe and Tete. Other transporters also need to use the opportunity as we have trouble, too, transporting the timber,” she said.
Tete Province in north-west of Mozambique, borders Zambia and Malawi, and is the site of the largest unexploited coal reserve in the world.