|Trade Opportunities in Malawi|
Malawi produces a wide range of export products with tobacco, tea and sugar as the traditional export products accounting for over 80 percent of Malawi's exports. However, as a result of export diversification, a number of non-traditional products have been developed for export. These non-traditional products fall in the categories of agricultural, manufactured, mining, services and many more. Agriculture being the mainstay of Malawi's economy, the manufacturing sector is largely agro-based and involved in the processing of agricultural products. The prevailing favourable investment climate has witnessed some heavy engineering firms involved in bus assembly, trailers and tankers commence operations for the export market.
The information on products in Malawi is contained in the Products Handbook published by Malawi Export Promotion Council. As a leading trade promotion organisation, the Malawi Export Promotion Council in collaboration with other business support institutions endeavours to provide all necessary technical, timely information and advisory services to the business community to take full advantage of the trading opportunities. The services will include product and market development and linking Malawi producers to buyers through provision of up-to-date Business Information.
Download the Malawi Product Handbook for detailed information on products available for export, services and contacts of exporters.
Malawi's major exports include tobacco, tea, and sugar. In 2007 tobacco accounted for 40.1 percent of export earnings, tea 5.7 percent, and sugar 6.4 percent. In 2008, 46.9 percent of Malawi's total exports went to the European Union markets, while 26.5 percent went to the Southern African Development Community markets, 9.2 percent went to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African region markets, and 7.9 percent went to the United States of America. The country is expecting mining to contribute substantially to the export bundle as a result of recent investment in uranium mining and in heavy mineral sands. Malawi is heavily dependent on imports such that in 2008, total exports were valued at US$1,036.6 million, while total imports were US$1,654.5 million, resulting in a trade deficit of US$617.9 million. Malawi's principal imports include fertilizers, petroleum products, semi-manufactured goods, consumer goods, and transportation equipment. In 2008, about 30.3 percent of total imports were derived from South Africa.
SHIRE ZAMBEZI WATERWAY
Apart from the extensive network of road and rail linking Malawi to major seaports and neighbouring countries, a mega transport infrastructure investment project that is now unfolding is the Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project. The project has the potential to transform Malawi tremendously through reduction in transport costs of key raw material imports and eventual exports by as much as 60 percent and hence, reducing the cost of production in industry and the economy, in general, and improve Malawi's competitiveness internationally.
MARKET SIZE & ACCESS
While Malawi's domestic market is small, the country is a party to a number of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, offering wider access and preferential treatment for Malawian products.