Malawian officials from various government ministries are in Maputo, Mozambique this week to discuss various issues on how the two countries can improve their trade relations.
The visit comes in the wake of conflicts in the neighbouring country that has in recent weeks disrupted movement of people and goods destined for Malawi, particularly fuel from the port of Beira.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said in an interview in Lilongwe last week the contingent will comprise officials from Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
He said one of the critical issues expected to dominate the discussions is the challenges faced by transporters passing through Mozambique.
“There is a joint permanent commission of cooperation delegation from Malawi which will be travelling to Mozambique to discuss various issues, including challenges being faced by our transporters,” he said.
Kasaila said this follows another meeting Malawians officials had with their counterparts from Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe three weeks ago on how they can facilitate improvement of trade on the Beira and Tete corridors.
However, he said there are no plans to abandon the Mozambican route because it is shorter and cheaper.
Road Transport Operators Association (Rtoa) executive director Chrissie Flao said in an interview it is encouraging the two countries are talking to each other because local transporters are worried of losing their trucks and goods every time they are passing through Mozambique.
“We are happy that the Malawi Government has engaged their Mozambican counterparts for a possible ceasefire because using alternative routes is expensive.
There were fears that if the insecurity situation in Mozambique prolongs, it could disrupt supply of fuel in the country.
Three weeks ago, some fuel tankers destined for Malawi were burnt. n