The International Trade Centre (ITC), a multilatera trade centre which has joint mandate with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says Malawi has a $333.5 million (about K250 billion) untapped export potential.
Such a potential comes at a time the country is still failing in import substitution, with imports outpacing exports.
While agreeing with the ITC figures, Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc) said the country is still grappling to meet the overwhelming demand for goods on the international market due to low production capacities by exporting firms.
Information sourced on ITC website shows that some of the markets with greatest potential for Malawi’s exports are India, South Africa and United States of America.
“India shows the largest absolute difference between potential and actual exports in value terms, leaving room to realise additional exports worth $46.1 million [about K35 billion],” reads the information in part.
ITC uses Export Potential Assessment (EPA) which are a data-based methodology to assist trade advisers in selecting promising export products for inclusion into export promotion activities.
It also uses Export Potential Indicator (EPI) which combines export performance, market demand and market access information to identify high potential export products already exported by the country.
The export potential map for Malawi shows that the country has $48.1 million [K37 billion] export potential in USA and an estimated $23.3 million [K17 billion] untapped export revenue from the same market.
Likewise, the export map shows that Malawi has an estimated export potential valued at $62.5 million [K47 billion] in South Africa and $22.9 million [K17 billion] an untapped export revenue in the same market.
In terms of actual products, ITC cites products such as black tea, raw cane sugar, groundnuts, oil cake, soya beans, coffee, fibreboard of wood, plywood, raw hides and skin of reptiles as some of the products the country is underutilising in terms of production and subsequent exports.
Mitc spokesperson Deliby Chimbalu said on Tuesday that the country is still failing to fully reap from various opportunities on the global market as a result of outstanding structural challenges.
“Another challenge is that of quality and standards. Most of our producers do not meet the quality and standards of the international markets,” she said. Chimbalu said Mitc continues to carry out capacity building initiatives for exporters.