Zim makes inroads on exports to Malawi Similo Nkala

Business Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN companies’ prospects to grow exports into the Malawi market look bright after local brands were commended for their quality at the just-ended Malawi outward mission.

This was revealed at the just-ended Malawi outward mission, which ran from September 20-022 2022 in Malawi’s capital, Blantyre.

The outward mission, which was facilitated by ZimTrade, the national trade development, and promotion body, saw 15 local companies from various sectors attending.

Local companies that took part in the outward mission were drawn from diverse manufacturing backgrounds including agro-processing, electrical and agricultural equipment.

The mission, which consisted of a stakeholder conference, local company exhibition, and company visits sought to entrench local products into Malawi as the country has proven to be a lucrative market for Zimbabwe exports.

The outward mission is part of ZimTrade’s efforts to broaden local companies’ opportunities in the region and particularly to accelerate trade between Malawi and Zimbabwe.

ZimTrade has been conducting multiple activities within the region in an effort to increase exports into Malawi.

“Malawi is a net importer and with the good feedback on our products, there is room to increase exports into this market. The biggest opportunities can be found in agriculture inputs and implements, building and construction, fast-moving consumer goods, and more,” said ZimTrade director of operations, Similo Nkala.

After conducting a market survey in 2019 and an outward mission to Lilongwe last year, multiple opportunities were discovered for locals and some of these key sectors identified were included in the outward mission to Blantyre.

Exports to Malawi have been increasing from US$16 million in 2016 to US$31 million in 2020 and this is attributable to multiple efforts made by Government and other stakeholders to grow trade volumes between the two countries.

“Our products have proven to be popular in this country, so we are deciding to establish a manufacturing plant so as to increase our profits and also create jobs,” said Windmill Zimbabwe group marketing executive Wilson Gopoza.

Individual company visits to Blantyre further proved the growing demand for Zimbabwean products in the market and local companies are now looking for ways to take advantage of these opportunities.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Malawi, Dr Nancy Saungweme underlined how the economic ties between the two countries are bearing fruit.

“The trade deficit has been shrinking which simply manifests the successes of our efforts by Government to increase exports and besides the good relations between our two countries should be leveraged on to increase the amount of trade between the two sisterly republics,” said Dr Saungweme

Outside of the proximity between the two countries, which is favorable for trade, there are many trade agreements that local companies can take advantage of riding on the good relations between the two countries.

To unlock these opportunities, Zimbabwean exporters leverage on the Preferential Bilateral Trade Agreement that has been in place since 1995.

“This mission is good for us to create viable synergies with Zimbabwean companies, and be more exposed to the good products they have to offer,” said Mr Hisham Jamaldeen, Rab Processors Chief Operating Officer, a poultry farming and juice processing company in Malawi.

Both countries are also members of Comesa and Sadc regional economic blocs, meaning that local exporters registered under trading agreements and awarded originating status under either or both blocs can export duty-free and quota-free from Zimbabwe to Malawi and vice versa.

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