What is MITC doing to secure new markets for Malawi’s products?
With the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), MITC has been able to secure regional markets. We started with the establishment of Malawi’s government office in Tete where our marketing specialist is housed. And through that office over eight companies have secured markets in Tete.
Since the establishment of the office we have a number of companies that are exporting. Not only that, EIF is also supporting us to build capacity of companies that have the potential but lack something to be able to export to these regional markets. As we speak, MITC is working with about 10 companies so they can take advantage of the huge marketing opportunities in the region.
But it is not only in Tete. With EIF support we found markets in Zimbabwe when we attended the Zimbabwe Trade Fair two years ago. What MITC is doing now is to make sure those companies that we took to Zimbabwe are exporting.
We did market research in Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, and from what we gathered we are able now to tell our industry, our private sector to actually focus on those markets.
Tell me about the Government’s focus on agriculture markets and MITC’s work in that respect.
Agriculture remains the bedrock of our economy, contributing to more that 32% of our GDP. What is coming out as paramount is that we find a way of speeding up agricultural investments in Malawi. And one quick way – looking at the economic models that have prevailed in the world – is the creation of Special Economic Zones. And for Malawi no sector will start with Special Economic Zones, it has to be agriculture, and agro-processing in particular.
We don’t want to be groping in the dark, so we are starting on the path to creating Special Economic Zones with a feasibility study that will be financed by EIF. The study will also elaborate on the legislation needed because we need to have the legislation in place. And the study will show us where to start establishing these zones.
As a country we are very excited because these Special Economic Zones will open up Malawi to attract more companies in agro-processing. It will see the creation of jobs for our youth and our women. Malawi will be able to export value-added products – as you know most of our export products are in raw form.
It is a very exciting time for Malawi.