Malawi launches latest initiative to promote inclusive international trade

Export training programme, classification tool to expand market opportunities

Key Government and private sector stakeholders in Malawi have marked the official launch of the latest Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation initiative to make regional and international trade easier, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of them women-owned or led (WOBs).

The ceremony in Blantyre on June 6, 2024, featured the ceremonial signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), kickstarting the project: ‘Opening Borders to MSMEs and WOBs: Enhancing Trade Transparency and Inclusivity’.

This twin-pronged initiative involves a new export training programme focused on the agri-food sector and a user-

friendly Harmonised System (HS) classification tool, generating greater certainty and transparency in the treatment of goods at borders, while also avoiding delays, fines, and overpayment.

The training programme will increase export capacity in areas such as international quality standards, packaging requirements, and export documentation, preparing MSMEs to take full advantage of an anticipated upswing in regional trade following the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Complementing this, an HS Classification and Tariff Information Tool will benefit MSMEs, enabling them to better understand market opportunities, duty obligations, compliance requirements, and preferential origin rules.

This latest project builds on a previous Alliance initiative, which is introducing a licensing framework for clearing agents, ensuring the country is equipped with highly qualified, professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills.

MSMEs will be encouraged to make full use this expertise in optimising their import-export operations.

Adopting its agile public private partnership approach to successful project implementation, the Alliance will work with several government agencies and business representative organisations, including:

  • Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI)
  • National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME)
  • Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association of Malawi (CAFAAM),
  • Indigenous Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents (ICCFA),
  • Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute (SMEDI),
  • Cross Border Traders Associations (CBTA)
  • Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT Malawi)
  • Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI)