Local clearing agencies excited with Continental Free Trade Aggreement

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By Justin Mkwewu

The Indigenous Customs Clearing and Forwarding Association has expressed excitement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This is despite that Malawi is yet to ratify this trade agreement.

The Association’s President Kumbuka Kaluwa was part of the recent sensitization workshop on AfCFTA in Blantyre.

Kaluwa disclosed that they face many problems to transfer cargo from Malawi.

He recalled that sometimes cargo is held at the boarders because of a simple missing document.

He therefore believes that if the barriers can be removed, it will not only help them but also spur the country’s economy.

“As an industry, we feel that there is going to be an increase in terms of trade, as Malawi there is going to be integration if we are going to be within  ourselves in African it is going to be cheaper to import and it is going to cheaper to transport our goods to other countries,” Kaluwa said.

Echoing Kalua’s sentiments is Saidi Abujumabi, the Regional Director for Southern Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa who observes that currently, it is easier to move cargo from China than to move it within African countries.

“Our economies are small our markets are small, when we pull our resources together in unity lies our strength. It should be easy for us to move from Cape to Cairo,” said Abujumabi.

Abujumabi stressed that it is important that Africa trades with itself and enhance production for itself and not necessary for Asia or the west.

“It should be possible for Small and Medium Enterprise, to say a want to package my Chambo Fish and sell it to Ivory Coast, that should be possible and that’s what the free trade area is all about,” he added.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade Ken Ndala has called for a positive mind-set among the public, on this initiative.

Ndala explained that Malawi stands to benefit a lot from this trade agreement.

“We see quite a number of advantages once we sign that agreement. One is that we are expanding our market to 55 countries, we are also going to be able to eliminate tariffs or remove the fees that people pay when they are crossing between the countries,” Ndala said.

He added that this will also push Malawi to improve in industrialisation to be able to compete favourably within the continents boarders.

While Malawi is yet to ratify the agreement, more than a half of the African countries have endorsed it.

 

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