By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
International trade expert Dev Chamroo has tipped Malawi to consider extending its export base if it is to become competitive on the global market.
Chamroo, a Senior Consultant at CITC Investment and Trade Consultants, was speaking on Monday during a National Export Strategy (NES) review and report findings validation workshop in Lilongwe.
He said Malawi needed carefully craft industrial diversification policies for agriculture, manufacturing and value-addition as it is formulating NES I successor strategy.
This comes as Malawi’s exports base continued to shrink during the period the NES I was being implemented. Exports for 2018 were projected at $1.1 billion, less than the $1.47 billion exports recorded in 2012.
Chamroo said the strategy was too ambitious given the prevailing conditions.
He said Malawi should channel resources towards building an export-oriented manufacturing and services activities.
“Malawi should strengthen its competitiveness by introducing bold economic reforms to improve its legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and by building capacity to achieve higher skills and knowledge.
“To meet the exigencies of development partners and donor agencies, Malawi should make higher budgetary provisions for the implementation of the NES II, optimise on preferential market accesses offered to Made in Malawi products and services establish a strong monitoring and evaluation framework to monitor, measure, evaluate and readjust its implementation,” Chamroo said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, Ken Ndala, said validation of the report findings would lead to consultations, designing and launching the NES II which is likely going to take up to March 2020.
“We need active participation from everyone in these remaining phases to ensure inclusiveness of all the stakeholders in the development process of the NES II and I urge all participants to make this workshop consultative and interactive so that we guide the design of NES II,” Ndala said.
The Commonwealth is funding the projects.
Commonwealth Trade Adviser, Yinka Bandele, said, in order to harness export opportunities, a number of factors within the economy must function well.
“Malawi must continue pushing forward, prepare key sectors to enter new markets and provide well needed export support services at the institutional level, which will support firms, producers and exporters to deliver competitive goods and services in highly dynamic international markets with sophisticated consumers,” Bandele said.
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