By Yamikani Yapuwa – Mana.
Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola has said industries in Malawi need to highly embrace value addition technologies in order to fully benefit from the opportunities that are in the free trade area.
Chithyola said this in Lusaka, Wednesday where he is attending the 16th Comesa Business Forum where the issue of promotion of value addition is among the key issues being discussed together with green investment and tourism.
“It is only when value addition has taken place that products can fetch more foreign earnings. In this aspect, we call on industries in Malawi jack-up and produce quality products that can compete within Comesa or their continental free trade area.
“Time is long gone where we should be exporting raw Soya when what we fetch is much less than exporting soya meal.
Chithyola said the Ministry of Trade is championing the development of Industrial parks which will be set up across the country in a bid to enhance value addition of various products.
“We just returned from Gabon, Togo and Benin where we have learnt that selling raw materials is losing out. We simply need to sell value added products and also advance more in terms of technology food systems,” he said
He added that government is currently creating a legal and regulatory framework by putting up legislations which are conducive for investment in the country.
“We are trying to push for special zones economic bill which we are going to table soon. We are also looking at National strategy in terms of export where we have already launched the policies'” he added.
Secretary General for COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe said the promotion of regional value chains is important for regional integration as it offers opportunities for countries to climb up the value chain by using the region to boost their competitiveness and producing and exporting higher value-added products.
“Well-established regional value chains offer opportunities for countries in the region to link gainfully into continental value chains and increase countries’ bargaining power with the external lead firms.
” In addition to the above, the regional value chains are key to reducing export dependency on unprocessed goods and natural resources, paving the way towards higher value addition and a more diversified export basket
” The regional value chains need to be accompanied by good productive capacity among the producers and manufacturers in the region in order to fully exploit the benefits of these opportunities,” said Kapwepwe.
The 16th High Level COMESA Business Forum has attracted a diverse group of over 500 regional and international businesses from the 21 Member States of COMESA.
The forum is a multi-sectoral platform for the promotion of quality products and services that are currently breaking ground in terms of high value and high demand, in regional and international markets, with a focus on the COMESA market.