Malawi’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has identified the five-year National Export Strategy (NES) as one of the priority areas where donors can come in with support as part of their Aid for Trade programme.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Wiskes Nkombezi, told Nation Online that government is implementing the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), an aid for trade programme aimed at strengthening the country’s capacity to participate and benefit from international trade to achieve viable economic growth.
Nkombezi said government has already identified priority areas, including the NES as a key strategy in which donors are being invited to support as part of their aid for trade support programmes.
“This programme [EIF] is targeted at resolving significant supply-side and institutional constraints, including constrained productive capacity, weak trade-support infrastructure, limited institutional and policy capacities, difficulties in complying with export-market requirements and lack of proper trade facilitation,” said Nkombezi.
Other activities of the EIF project include the identification and development of projects in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II), under the project’s Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS).
He said just like all forms of aid, Aid for Trade is based on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which lays out a practical, action-oriented roadmap to improve the quality of aid and its impact on development.
The five year NES envisages a reversal of the unsustainable trade deficit in Malawi to transform Malawi to a producing and exporting country by building productive capacity such that exports may match imports in the long run.
The Aid for Trade initiative was launched in 2005 at the sixth World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference in Hong Kong, with the purpose of helping the least developed countries to build their supply-side capacity and infrastructure, to take advantage of trade liberalisation as well as to enhance their participation in the world trading system.
Economics professor at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College Ben Kalua, in an earlier interview, said the country needs real commitment and support to move from donor dependency to trade.
“Malawi needs support in trade facilitation such as the improvement of the Malawi Bureau of Standards so that it is internationally accredited and able to certify local products and for any export market. We also need to improve on the productivity of our agriculture sector,” he said.
The Aid for Trade initiative comes at a time when trade liberalisation under the WTO has a development specific agenda through the Doha Development Round.