The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) Business Council (CBC) says there is need for business in the region to exploit potential and local production to enhance intra-Africa trade.
CBC newly elected vice-president James Chimwaza said in a written response to an e-mailed questionnaire on Friday that time has come for Comesa members to focus on domestic and regional markets other than the external markets.
He said: “We want member States to focus on filling the gap in production and trade especially for strategic sectors that contribute the regional or continent’s export earnings and sectors with significant unexploited production and trade potential.
“Further to this, member States also need to design and implement policies, legal and institutional frameworks to promote private investment in rregional value chainsfor instance investment codes, land policies and fiscal policies.”
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera is on record as having admitted that trade between Malawi and other countries is minimal where intra-Africa trade in the country accounts for less than 16 percent, due to poor infrastructure, weak connectivity , low production capacity and overdependence on primary commodities.
Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences economics lecturer Betchani Tchereni notes that trade is minimal between Malawi and other countries due to the low exports base.
CBC is a business member organisation and regional apex body of the private sector and business community in the 21 Comesa member States which seeks to improve the competitiveness and deepen the participation of the private sector in regional and global trade.