PUBLISHED ON March 28th, 2024

Malawi to start trading under AfCFTA October

Malawi is targeting October 2024 as the month to join the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’s Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), the Ministry of Trade and Industry has said.

The GTI is an AfCFTA pilot initiative which gives room to member states to conduct trade without charging each other customs duties.

Eight countries already started trading using the initiative.

Speaking in Blantyre during a private sector engagement on AfCFTA, Ministry of Trade Director of Trade in Goods Charity Musonzo said Malawi is ready to start trading under AfCFTA guidelines.

She said an AfCFTA team is in the country to assess Malawi’s readiness.

“In terms of all the documentation Malawi fulfilled. All things being equal, according to our plan, we are hoping that by October or latest December this year, we should have our first consignments exported.

“For our industry, it’s not magic. It’s something that they do every day. They just need to add a little bit of the necessary steps and processes to perfect the products that they are going to take there so that they are able to compete against the ones that are already on the market,” Msonzo said.

Principal Officer in the Directorate of Trade in Goods and Competition at the AfCFTA Diana Akullo Ogwal said, following the progress made on the GTI, many countries are coming to join and more products now are being traded.

She said that in the first phase agricultural commodities dominated the list of traded products apart from batteries, air conditioning units among others.

“We are now getting into more of the processed products, in addition to agricultural products. But of course, we don’t forget that Africa is mainly an agricultural continent. The biggest aspect in trading has been related to agricultural commodities.

Ogwal said currently 93 trades have been concluded under the GTI.

The AfCFTA presents a major opportunity for African countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.

With the implementation of AfCFTA, trade facilitation measures that cut red tape and simplify customs procedures would drive $292 billion of the $450 billion in potential income gains.

The AfCFTA—the continent’s single biggest trading bloc—is among the African Union’s (AU) flagship projects for implementation of its ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want,’ and is aimed at bringing together all the 55 member states of the AU in an intra-African continental free trade area.

It would create a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of up to $3.4 trillion.

If fully implemented, the AfCFTA could leverage intra-African trade and increase trade among member states by up to 110 percent.

In addition, the AfCFTA could lift up to 30 million people out of extreme poverty and up to 68 million people out of moderate poverty.

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