Ministry of Transport says it is committed to establishing stronger trade ties with Zimbabwe in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enhance socio-economic development.
In a statement following the hosting of Malawi-Zimbabwe Business Forum on Thursday in Lilongwe, Minister of Transport Jacob Hara said for a long time, trade between the two countries has been relatively low.
He said this is despite high proximity of major commercial and industrial hubs of the two countries, hovering around $60 million (about K62 billion).
“In Malawi, there are vast business opportunities. Being an agro-based economy, there are numerous and exciting opportunities in value addition and trade for our commodities,” said Hara.
The minister said Zimbabwe can benefit from export commodities such as oilseeds, legumes, pigeon peas, macadamia nuts, tobacco, tea, coffee, rice and precious stones.
Hara highlighted other investment opportunities in large-scale farming, food processing, fertiliser manufacturing, textiles manufacturing, power generation, mining, information and communications technology, tourism, housing and real estate and infrastructural development.
Malawi Investment and Trade Centre chief executive officer Paul Kwengwere said the business forum was convened in line with their mandate of promoting and facilitating investments and trade in Malawi.
“We saw this as an opportunity to strengthen economic relations with Zimbabwe and also promote the actualisation of Malawi 2063 through investments and trade that can be generated through this business mission,” he said.
Kipson Gundani, African Round Table chief executive officer, who spoke on behalf of the Zimbabwe delegation, said Malawi is a target market following long-standing economic links.
He said they have already been to Zambia, South Africa and other countries in the Southern African Development Community to strengthen trade ties and opportunities to ensure shared economic growth.
“This is a purely Zimbabwean business mission with a delegation from various sectors that are bringing energy, medical, trade and agro-processing solutions.,” said Gundani.
Figures from the Ministry Trade and Industry show that in 2020, Zimbabwe exported $24.7 million (about K25 billion) worth of goods to Malawi. The goods included coke, paper containers and maize.
On the other hand, Malawi exported to Zimbabwe goods worth $43 million (about K43 billion) such as dried legumes, soya beans and raw tobacco.