Local businesses are focusing more on their trade in the regional markets, the 2018 Malawi Business Climate Survey (MBCS) Report has shown.
According to this year’s Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) MBCS report, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) remain great opportunities for businesses.
Reads the report in part: “It is possible that economic developments outside the two regions are affecting the business confidence in terms of their export revenue prospects.”
However, the report has also shown that out of the two blocs, prospects are high for increased imports from the Sadc region as compared to Comesa and other regions.
Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi(Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa yesterday said most local businesses prefer these blocs due to lack of government support.
“If government can give us the necessary support in terms of resources, then we can export more beyond these two regional markets,” he explained.
The MBCS report has come on the backdrop of a Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism report released in October which showed that local businesses are not taking advantage of other markets and programmes like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
The report says Malawi has not significantly utilized the trade preference opportunities offered by the Agoa programme.
The report faulted Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) for failing to encourage trade between Malawi and United States.
But in an interview on Monday, Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba said most Malawian exporters do not export beyond the two regional markets because they have not reached the level of exporting to more sophisticated markets like the European Union.
Kumbemba said as a result, Mitc has been encouraging companies to explore other less demanding markets like Middle East, China and India.
“Mitc is at their disposal and we give them information on all markets and the products that are on demand. We are merely a facilitator and we wish exporters would join us in trade exhibitions because importers ask for more detailed information which we rarely have,” he said.
According to Kumbemba most local companies are preoccupied with production and not marketing.