The National Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) is predicting doom for the country’s economy if the government goes ahead to ratify and joint African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in January next year.
The Ministry of Trade through its spokesperson Mayeso Msokera earlier this year disclosed that all processes were underway to ratify and join one of the world’s biggest trade blocs which is expected to come into operation in January next year.
Msokera hinted that the government plans to explore oil seeds and leather products as some of the flagship products the country can competitively export on the African export market.
“We are currently working with the Ministry of Justice on some instruments which we need to deposit at the African Union, once that is done we will be good to go,” said Msokera.
The Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) president Lauryn Nyasulu however cautions the government to consider working on the country’s export base before considering to open up the market to foreign products.
NASME Executive Director William Mwale predicts that the country’s economy will be severely affected if the government goes ahead to let Malawi join the trading bloc.
Mwale believes the country will just end up being a dumping site for substandard products owing to its weak industrial base.
The AfCFTA agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating.
The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.
It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.