Imani Development was contracted by the United Nations Development Programme to assist the Government of Malawi with relaunching their National Export Strategy process in 2011, aiming to address the serious structural trade deficits. The overall strategy aims to develop ownership among local institutions and to build capacity to ensure that the NES is fully implementable. This includes supporting the Ministry of Industry and Trade to provide leadership and direction for the NES, through the Steering Committee, its sub-groups and the NES work team. The overarching objective is to ensure, as much as possible, that the NES has the necessary institutional support to drive and secure its consistent execution. Specific segments of the strategy are:

  • Cluster Strategies: This involves the development of 3 specialised strategies to support the development of the 3 clusters that have the greatest export potential in the next 5-10 years. Identification of these 3 clusters is through a Cluster Prioritisation Method that is based on four components: trade analysis, resource analysis, stakeholder survey and a review of existing value chain research. The strategy includes support strategies for key sectors that do not rank among the top 3 and a stabilization plan for tobacco, Malawi’s primary but declining export.
  • Export Constraint Mitigation Strategies: Supporting the Malawi Private Sector Development Policy and Strategy, the Integrated Trade and Industry Policy, the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy through implementation and coordination support. The strategy will be the overarching guide for trade related and private sector development driven initiatives such as these and hence bring cohesion and identify and prioritise the gaps to allocate resources towards in future.
  • Institutional Capacity: Providing support to the development of the capacity of key agencies involved in the implementation of the NES and more broadly in shaping the PSD/export enabling environment. As with the previous sub-component, this involves supporting existing programmes and strategies and identifying gaps for intervention.
  • Skills Prioritisation: Prioritisation of the single greatest export constraint, lack of public and private sector skills, by working with stakeholders to support the link between industry and skills/education.
Imani Development has been working alongside the Ministry of Trade and Industry to:

  • Develop strategies to support the development of the 3 product clusters (namely oil seeds (e.g., sunflower, cotton, soya), sugar and manufacturing/agro-processing (e.g. in dairy, wheat and maize) that have the greatest export potential in the next 5-10 years.
  • Lend implementation and coordination support to the numerous existing locally owned efforts for export facilitation and Private Sector Development. Also, identifying gaps in the existing initiatives and securing resources to those gaps, as prioritised.
  • Support the development of the implementation capacity of key agencies involved in the NES project and involved in shaping the broader environment for PSD and exports.
  • Prioritise schemes to address the lack of public sector and private sector skills, which has been identified as the major export constraint.