A report on boosting intra-African investment flows towards Africa’s transformation has stressed the need for a more liberalised trade environment in Malawi for greater economic efficiency and meaningful foreign direct investment (FDI).
The study, conducted United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) to establish the impact of FDI’s on economic transformation in 49 African states, ranks Malawi among sought after investment destinations in sub Saharan Africa.
It notes that Southern Africa maintained its status of the most sought-after FDI destination on the continent but suffered a significant drop in the past three years although FDI flows to Malawi strengthened in the period.
“The available figures indicate trade openness appears to have a positive and significant impact on investment. From this perspective, Malawi may need to consider that boosting intra-African investment could also bolster the regional integration agenda at the regional economic community level and provide opportunities for alignment with the continental integration agenda,” reads the report in part.
The report also indicates that though Malawi’s investment policies have been principally dedicated to trade liberalisation, promotion and facilitation with a few investment conditions so as to reduce restrictions and promote sector-specific liberalisation, more can be done to improve political and policy environment.
In recent years Malawi has been on the drive to attract FDI largely through Malawi Investment Forums (MIF) championed by the Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc) and has also led private sector to several international investment forums across the world.
Through the Mitc Malawi has also established a one stop service centre where all crucial institutions in the investment registration process are operating under one roof.
Speaking earlier with Business News Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba said Mitc has and continues to play a role in many of the investments which have brought tangible results on the ground.
He said: “We have been in the forefront lobbying the investment in the country and have since seen investors including Independent Power Producers in energy sector taking up projects in the investment compendiums made available by us through our forums.”
Principle secretary in the minister Industry and Trade Ken Ndala is also on record, saying government is keen to continue improving the ease of doing business in Malawi.
He said government has several initiatives and is party to some regional trade blocks to facilitate trade between Malawi and other countries.
In Malawi, most of FDI has been directed to the energy sector followed by the manufacturing and mining sectors.
Over the past five years, the leading sources of FDI have been from Australia, China, India, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and South Africa.