Malawi’s economy is considered less developed among SADC member countries. However it has potential in terms of economic development and prosperity.
Malawi is a landlocked country endowed with natural resources, of which Lake Malawi is the best known example. Despite a land mass of only 84,080 km2, it boasts a population of 13.1 million people, 85% of whom live in rural areas. Its density of 127 inhabitants per square kilometre is the highest in Southern Africa. GDP growth has reached an average of 7.5% over the past four years despite a slowly developing business climate.
The CDE has drafted a concept paper serving to assess the technical needs of SMEs in the country. It was carried out in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA), Export Promotion Council (MEPC) and Development of Enterprise Trust (DMET) of Malawi, under the auspices of the Ministries of Industry, Finance and Foreign Affairs.
It will enable capacity building among intermediary organizations, to help them supply Business Development Services (BDS) to SMEs, in the context of the Private Sector Development support Programme, intended to stimulate investment and trade and create jobs. This will be achieved through the development of sustainable business support mechanisms for enterprises, capable of strengthening the private sector.
The CDE’s intervention will create synergies, complement and concretize the efforts to develop sustainable Business Development Services. The CDE will assist in the formulation of a programme intended for SMEs, professional organizations, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Investment and Export Promotion Agencies and capacity building among financial institutions.
The CDE Regional Office’s Operations Officer, Kim Ndiweni carried out a mission to Malawi from 27 to 29 April for meetings with the stakeholders of the programme and other partners (EU Delegation, USAID, AfDB) in Lilongwe and Blantyre. A workshop, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Newby Kumwembe, validated the CDE’s concept paper.
Under the heading “Private Sector Development Strategy : SMEs Capacity Building in Malawi”, the CDE will soon be undertaking a needs assessment of SMEs and intermediary organizations and developing a programme to strengthen their capacity.