25 May 2017

Malawi: President Mutharika Calls for Creativity, Innovation and Aggressiveness in Business

Blantyre — President Arthur Peter Mutharika has called on Malawians to be more creative, innovative and aggressive when doing business in order for the country to penetrate the international market where competition continues to stiffen.

Mutharika made the call on Wednesday when he officially opened the 29th International Trade Fair at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre.

"People will buy from Malawi if the products are of high quality and have a matching price. At the pace the international market is progressing, countries which continue to produce low quantity products will soon lose the competitive race," Mutharika said.

The Malawi leader assured the private sector of a conducive operating environment in order for them to thrive and produce the best products for export quality.

Concurring with the president, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha called on all the country's economic players to be innovative in order to improve standards of production.

Mwanamvekha said the enabling policies Malawi has should help in facilitating and guiding the operation of local and international investors in the country.

The minister also emphasized on the need to champion value addition among the country's major export products, which are mainly agro in order for them to fetch the best price on the international and local market.

Taking his turn, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) President Karl Chokotho said the country's export basket continues to narrow due to the tendency of low and raw agro export.

'We need to produce more in order to have surplus that can be exported. Otherwise, it will be hard for Malawi to break into the international market," Chokotho said.

He then called on government to give the best attention to the manufacturing sector as it has the greatest multiplying effect on an economy.

On setbacks currently affecting businesses in the country, Chokotho cited poor electricity supply, absence of long-term financing arrangements and policy reversals.

According to Chokotho, the poor performance of the energy sector in the past two years has affected Growth Domestic Product (GDP) growth, resulting in a mere 2 percent upward spiral.

'There is need for good economic governance to ensure that policies and strategies materialize," added Chokotho.

Responding to Chokotho's concerns, President Mutharika assured the business community of government's devoted support to the private sector.

"As a government, we are working hard to improve the economy. In 2014, the inflation rate was at 24 percent and currently it is at 14 percent and I can assure you that by January next year, the inflation will be in a single digit," the Malawian leader said.

This year's International Trade Fair has attracted over 250 participants from 16 countries with Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and India as some of them.

The theme for this year's fair is "Productivity: A Source of Export and Competitiveness."


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