Overview of Foreign Trade Division

The Foreign Trade Division is primarily in charge of all matters pertaining to the country’s foreign trade. It coordinates activities relating to development and promotion of exports and trade relations.

·        Trade Promotion

Malawi has undertaken several trade promotional activities with the view to showcase and penetrate international and regional markets. Examples include Malawi participation in trade exhibitions in Zimbabwe, Malawi international trade fair and also trade mission to Belgium and Netherlands. Malawi also exhibited at the COMESA Summit in Uganda.


·        Trade Facilitation

Malawi being a landlocked country faces high transport costs of around 54% of exports as such with the donor partners several initiatives are being undertaken to deal with these. Some of the initiatives include the following:

Development of One Stop Border posts with neighbouring countries, development of Integrated Boarder Management (IBM) promotion of the Shire-Zambezi Waterway, harmonization of the Regional Customs Bond Guarantee Scheme and harmonization of border opening hours and development of a National Single window concept with the assistance of the US Hub in Botswana. The National Single Window (NSW) is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport systems to lodge standardized trade-related information and/or documents to be submitted once at a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements

All these programmes are being undertaken to help in reducing our cost of doing business.

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have assisted Malawi develop studies on trade facilitation. A trade facilitation priority plan is being developed where issues have been prioritized in the short, medium and long term for donor assistance.


·        Enhanced Integrated Framework Project

The Department of Trade is implementing the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Project which is a multi-donor trade facility aimed at helping the Ministry’s institutional capacity building as well as mainstreaming trade into our national development strategies.

The project has deployed a project advisor, has a NIU in place and also has undertaken a review of the Diagnostic Trade Integrated Survey (DTIS) in collaboration with World Bank. Tier Two projects are being developed having been approved by the National Steering Committee.


·        Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration (APEI)

Malawi is also involved in a World Bank supported initiative called the Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration (APEI) which is comprises Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Zambia and Seychelles. The aim of the programme is to discuss means to facilitate business and regulatory reforms by focusing on improving the business environment, improving trade in services, improving trade facilitation, removing non-tariff barriers and encouraging knowledge sharing among the five countries.

The programme mainly complements existing regional integration efforts in COMESA and SADC by focusing at the above mentioned sectors.


·        Simplified Trade Regime

Simplified Trade Regime (STR) is a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) programme that aims at simplifying and facilitating trade for small scale business people particularly women and the youth crossing the borders.


·        The National Export Strategy


With the view to diversify and contribute to economic recovery, the Ministry developed a National Export Strategy (NES) which was launched in December 2013. 



Increase international Trade. 


To stimulate growth in exports of goods and services.


To enhance growth and competitiveness of exported goods and services 

Strategic Objective

To increase products and market diversification of exports of domestically produced goods.