The UNDP and EU on Wednesday signed aÂ 3.8-million euroÂ (about K1.4 billion)Â contribution agreement for the development of a robust Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) in Malawi, an essential tool to support Malawiâ€™s export capacities.
UNDP will contribute $854 000 while the Malawi Government will contribute K1.8 billion (about $6 million) towards the acquisition of land and construction of the metrology building.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, UNDP resident representative Richard Dictus said the project comes at a time when Malawi is in a critical stage to advance its export-led development agenda.
â€œMalawi has a major unsustainable structural trade deficit. In 2010, Malawi imported $2.3 billion [22 percent of GDP]. If Malawi is to develop and achieve its economic growth aspiration as envisioned in the MGDS II, exports need to maintain the level and pace of growth of imports,â€ Dictus said.
Director of industry in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Kendron Chisale, said the SQAM project will be implemented under the technical leadership of the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).
â€œThis project is quite important because it will stimulate our exports by reducing the need for re-testing, re-inspection and re-certification of our products which are or will be sold at international market,â€ Chisale said.
He said in Sadc region, the industrial sector, in particular small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, play a role in creation of employment and wealth through value-addition and diversification of exports.
The project will be implemented in the next four years.