Malawi borrows a leaf from Chinese industrialization experience

 Malawi borrows a leaf from Chinese industrialization experience

Malawi borrows a leaf from Chinese industrialization experience.

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The Chinese economic transformation, which has seen the country emerge as a force to reckon with in the 21st century has attracted trade, economic and political partnerships with different countries across the world, including Malawi.

In its bid to become a predominantly exporting country, Malawi, an agro-based economy has drawn development strategies aimed at transforming it into an industrialized nation.

One of the countries that have stretched a helping hand is China, also a developing country with a strong manufacturing and export base.

Seeing China develop using the Industrial Park concept as a key tool for industrialization in its economic reforms, Malawi is borrowing a leaf and, through the Malawi Investment Trade Centre (MITC), has already conceptualized and identified its own Special Economic Zones to be developed into Industrial Parks in Blantyre, the country’s commercial city and Lilongwe, the capital city.

The zones are expected to boost industrial output as well as to create jobs and wealth.

As the Chinese case show, industrialization modeled on industrial parks require the creation of favorable legal and taxation systems designed to attract investments into a multifaceted industrial hub in a designated area.

Capitalizing on MITC’s One-Stop Service Centre, where investment processes such as business registration, work permit authorization, development land acquisition among others for foreign investors are made, the Industrial Parks are also expected to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

Meanwhile, MITC has partnered with a local Malawian bank, FDH to support private sector enterprises, public/private partnerships (PPPs), foreign investors and also small and medium enterprises willing to participate in the country’s industrialization drive.

FDH Bank says it will collaborate with local and foreign financiers to harness collective funding capacities that will facilitate easy access to finances for projects under the initiative.

With exports mainly depending on tobacco, the Malawi Government and development partners are currently implementing several initiatives on industrialization under the National Export Strategy and expect to produce several products for both import substitution and export through the Industrial Parks in the Special Economic Zones.

The Chinese government has recently been demonstrating the industrial park concept to African ambassadors who were taken on a familiarization tour to Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu Province.  

Suzhou Industrial Park is said is said to hold the second largest provincial GDP (overUS$1.13 trillion) in China after Guangdong’s US1.17 trillion.

The proposed Special Economic Zones being conceptualized by MITC should draw lessons from the Suzhou Industrial Park to ensure all opportune areas are well exploited for maximum benefits.

Charles Mkula

Charles Mkula has over 15 years of working as a Malawian newsroom news reporter and editor as well as a freelance journalist for a number of international news outlets, Charles Mkula has worked as a Public Relations Officer for a Malawi/Germany urban development project. He co-founded Hyphen Media Institute, a platform for sharing information generated from policy debate and advocacy activities. Charles likes reading, writing, traveling, exercises, making friends, listening to music, watching TV, documentaries and cartoons.

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