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Poor business climate hampers progress, says new report

[Malawi] Business man in Malawi
Business man in Malawi (UNHCR/A Atta)

Malawi's private sector has drawn attention to the country's poor business climate and called for government cooperation in creating an environment more conducive to business.

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) presented the results of a survey it conducted among 100 of its members, which concluded that despite recent improvement on a number of fronts, "Malawi's business climate remains unfriendly".

According to MCCCI chief executive Chancellor Kaferapanjira, participating firms had listed currency fluctuations, the high cost of transport, the cost and difficulty of accessing finance, and the number of tariffs and taxes as negatively affecting business.

Bureaucracy and corruption were also cited as contributing to the high costs of doing business in Malawi, and although "they have improved compared to previous years ... most respondents said the improvement was not enough," Kaferapanjira observed.

"The fact that the private sector is raising these issues is important," the Director of Private Sector Development in the Ministry of Trade and Private Sector Development, Macleod Tsilizani, told IRIN.

"It is only fair for the private sector to challenge the government. We need to understand their plight and work together, but there is a lot of work to be done," he noted.

Kaferapanjira said the survey results would help the business community to negotiate an agenda, in collaboration with the government, on how to improve the situation.

According to Tsilizani, "the government has to enhance the public-private partnership to address these issues and meet with industry. The private sector is the engine of growth, and the government's role is the oil that makes it run, to create an enabling environment for businesses."

"We intend to put forward a coalition paper with priority areas that need work, but we realise they [the government] have limited resources," Kaferapanjira commented.

With a gross national income of US $170 per capita, landlocked Malawi with few natural resources is one of the poorest countries in the world.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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