The Malawi Government has said its trade gap with the neighbouring Mozambique is too wide.
Figures show the gap in 2012 was at an estimated at $185 million (K74 billion) and in favour of Mozambique.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe during the Malawi-Mozambique business forum which was also attended by President Joyce Banda and her counterpart in Mozambique, Armando Guebuza.
He said last year, Malawi exported goods and services worth K8 billion against imports worth K82 billion, representing a K74 million trade gap.
“Yes, it is true that the [trade] figures with Mozambique are still low and it is embarrassing that we are trading more with other countries abroad than we are doing with neighbouring countries,” said Gwengwe.
While noting that the trade pattern between Malawi and Mozambique is irregular, he said the current trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows between Malawi and Mozambique are significant and have potential for growth.
Gwengwe said there is, therefore, need to explore ways to further nurture, expand and grow the trade and investment opportunities existing between the two countries.
“Malawi and Mozambique have been and continue to engage in several trade and investment programmes with the view to boost trade between the countries as well as enhancing cooperation in private sector development,” he said.
Gwengwe said because of this, Malawi Government officials recently undertook a business visit to Tete which was well patronised by the private sector institutions from both countries, including the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The forum pooled SMEs in both Mozambique and Malawi who showcased various products and shared business experiences.
Tete Province has witnessed booming business and economic activity in recent times which, he said, presents an enormous opportunity for Malawians to capitalise.
“The booming Tete Province provides a business opportunity for Malawi in view of the high demand of Malawi’s products,” he said.
Banda said her government is at the height of implementing ease of doing business reforms which, she said, will help the country attract more investors, both domestic and foreign.
Guebuza stated that there are plenty of trade opportunities between Malawi and Mozambique, adding that the relationship between the two is growing from strength to strength.