Malawi needs to develop a strong strategy if it is to benefit from intra-African trade, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) commissioner of customs and excise responsible for exports Shadreck Namalomba has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Trade Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Namalomba said Malawi needs to put in place a strategy that will ease export hurdles so that the country can fully benefit from the African market.
He noted that 90 percent of all Malawi exports are done by non-indigenous Malawian businesses while only 10 percent is by indigenous businesses.
â€œMalawi is not doing well in terms of trade facilitation; currently it takes longer [days] to move goods from one place or even to clear goods at customs, it takes more than three days.
But he bemoaned the low number of indigenous exporters, saying if the trend continues, foreign exchange shortages will persist.
â€œWe are still a net importer than an exporter and the little that is exported does not come into the country. We export maize, groundnuts and other agricultural products, but the money is not coming to Malawi, this is worrisome,â€ he said.
While Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is making all efforts to ensure that traders repatriate all money from exports, Namalomba said the ball is in Malawian businessesâ€™ court to expand their export base and that when they export, money is repatriated.
Â The trade forum started on Monday, with a call to build on the political expression of support for the continental trade agenda and mobilise broad-based support for actualising this vision.
The call was made by Carlos Lopes, under secretary-general and executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) during the opening session.