Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc) says plans to establish special economic zones (SEZ)—designated areas within a country with special economic regulation—are at an advanced stage as land to pioneer the establishment of the zones has been identified.
In an interview, Mitc director of planning and research Felix Kadewere said Mitc is currently putting in place the legal and operational framework in which the SEZ will operate.
He said the operation of the areas will require that whoever is operating within the zones dedicate themselves to achieve specific targets.
Said Kadewerer: “We are currently looking at places within Blantyre and Lilongwe where industries can increase the level of value addition so that we can export more goods rather than raw materials in line with the National Export Strategy [NES].
“There is land in Area 55 in Lilongwe of about 300 hectares and another land in Chigumula, Blantyre, of about 37 hectares. We are targeting small to medium enterprises to relocate in these areas with the view to increase the level of value addition activities.
“We are committed to seeing that land developed SEZ are aimed at increasing trade, investment, job creation and effective administration and within the zones, financial policies are introduced regarding investing taxation trading quotas, customs and labour regulations.”
Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Smea) president James Chiutsi said SEZ is an opportunity for the country’s businesses to grow as this would increase their exports.
He said expectations are high that Mitc, along with associated government departments, will replicate the same in all areas nationwide to spur economic activity.
“This initiative reminds us to pull up our socks to boost exports. This will certainly help the SME sector to grow,” said Chiutsi.
He said Smea believes that symbiotic relationships and linkages will develop the country’s small businesses.
Elsewhere in the world, China, Zambia, Botswana and Rwanda have working SEZ which have simplified the entry of investors.