Malawi is among least developed countries far from competing with countries in the world on trade despite being granted flexibilities in the implementation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, according to a new report.
In its latest report titled Boosting Trade Opportunities for Least Developed Countries, WTO said least developed countries such as Malawi continue to face many challenges to integrate into global supply chains.
Reads the report in part: “Least developed countries have not been able to take full advantage of the opportunities provided under the multilateral trading system and their participation in global trade has not reached the desired level.
“The integration of the least developed countries into global trade should, however, be a priority as trade can play an important role in driving economic growth and supporting sustainable development.”
The report shows that Malawi exports have continued to decline in the last 10 years while trade balance has on the other hand widened.
According to the report, exports have declined from $1.42 billion (about K1.1 trillion) in 2011 to $788 million (about K650 billion) in 2020 while trade balance has widened to $1.88 billion (about K1.4 trillion) in 2020 from $1billion (K825 billion) in 2011.
WTO has since recommended that Malawi should keep abreast of the forces shaping international trade, saying it is essential that Malawi, as a landlocked least developed country, has the necessary digital technology to take advantage of the emerging opportunities.
The WTO has also underscored the need to consider some measures to reduce trade costs, including improving transport connectivity and adapting rules of origin.
In an interview on Tuesday, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences associate professor of economics Betchani Tchereni said diversification is key to growing the export base.
“Mining, exports of animal husbandry, manufacturing and others is the sure way to widen our exports,” he said.
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said there is need for integration to bolster trade.
He said that trade between Malawi and other countries has been minimal largely due to poor support infrastructure, weak connectivity, low production capacity and over dependence on primary commodities