Ministry of Trade says the newly signed TradeMark East Africa (Tmea) Malawi country programme is expected to increase the country’s trade volumes, reduce trade costs and induce competitiveness on the global market.
The 40 million pound (about K40 billion) multi-year programme, whose technical assistance agreement was signed in August last year, is supported by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. The initial funding is expected to cover the period of up to March 2026.
Speaking during the second meeting of the national oversight committee of the Malawi country programme in Lilongwe last week, Ministry of Trade Principal Secretary Christina Zakeyo said a number of activities under the programme have picked up.
Some of the activities include the support to information and communications technology for trade projects, support towards the implementation of the one- stop-border posts, baseline survey for Malawi’s major borders and corridors, feasibility of establishing dry ports and logistics facilities and the timely support towards Malawi’s access to the new UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
Said Zakeyo: “As we head into the future, I want to call upon the implementation team not to shy away from high-impact hardware interventions in as far as the trade facilitation agenda is concerned.
“Ensure balance between the software interventions and the relevant hardware without losing the programme’s thematic focus for high-value exports.”
The project document shows that as a multiplier effect, the project also intends to contribute to increased export growth, create new jobs and reduce poverty.
The programme is taking shape at a time the economy continues to face fiscal challenges, beset by low gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, poor investment inflows and a slowdown in job creation.
Besides, the country is also facing persistent and expanding trade deficits, a development trade experts say requires urgent focus on export growth policies and initiatives.
Malawi also faces high cost of trade estimated by the Ministry of Transport to account for about 56 percent of the cost of imports and exports.
Tmea programme country director Jovin Mwemwezi said the project is expected to support corridor development, one-stop border post development, ICT for trade, standards, trade policy, export growth and logistics.
He said in the first year of operations, the programme will focus on Safe Trade Emergency Plan for Malawi that supported the Government of Malawi in responding to the effects of Covid-19, with a focus on smooth cross-border
trading to keep trading undisrupted and ensuring the safety of frontline border officials.
“We believe a multi-year Tmea Malawi country programme can remove persistent barriers and significantly improve trade outcomes,” he said