Zambia Malawi trade simplified

Commerce minister Felix Mutati (right)

ZAMBIA and Malawi are expected to launch a simplified trade regime this week.

The simplified regime is a new system developed in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to ease the cost of doing business among cross-border traders.

Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati and his Malawian counterpart are expected to launch the system on Friday.

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Buleti Nsemukila disclosed this in an interview in Lusaka on Monday.

He said regulations and guidelines surrounding trade across borders have been so complicated and mostly are understood only by people with huge businesses, hence the introduction of the simplified trade regime.

“Now you cannot apply the same system to people dealing with less than US$1,000 in goods, so this system that has been developed in collaboration with COMESA will simplify the trade regime. This is where a trader with less than US$500 worth of goods can fill in a simple form to pass,” he said.

He said Government wants to help traders use the border post instead of them evading customs because of challenges and guidelines they continue to face.

“So we are encouraging them to use these border posts because it is so simplified that it will not take much of their time. In fact, they will be assisted much more in doing business,” he said.

Dr Nsemukila said the system will first be piloted between the two countries before being replicated at other border posts across the country.

He said that there are five areas of doing business reforms under the private sector development programme and that these are starting a business, registering business, registering property, access to credit and trade across borders.

Dr Nsemukila said Government had discovered that there is a lot of trade among Zambia’s neighbouring countries, particularly small-scale trade across borders.

[Zambia Daily Mail]


  1. This is good news. Let us not forget that in SADC, DRC last year surpassed South Africa in terms of trade with Zambia amounting to $1 billion dollars (US) in trade between Zambia and Malawi.

    Let us also not forget that the railway between Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique is near completion. Enhanced trade between Zambia and her neighbors will surely be good for Zambia and her neighbors economy. This will also give small and medium scale businesses larger markets.

    This is awesome news.

  2. sorry should read “This is good news. Let us not forget that in SADC, DRC last year surpassed South Africa in terms of trade with Zambia amounting to $1 billion dollars (US) in trade between Zambia and DRC. “

  3. While this is good news for SMEs there is also need to for the government to do investment in the business value chain such as helping Zambian traders acquire legal and property rights. This will stop the current situation where we have massively dumped fake products especially from East Africa. With this we can have improved revenue inflows for our traders and fair play in the market.

  4. Now please Mutati do a clean up at CEEC there is too much corruption and political influence. Its near to impossible for one to get a loan from CEEC if you are not related to a member of staff or don’t have any political connections in the ruling party. If you are just an ordinary person then you have to add a mark up on the loan…”processing fee” for the person processing your loan application. Without that you might as well shove your apllication in the sewer. In Zambia and I think most developing countries you just have to be corrupt for you to be a successful businessman.

  5. This is not enough, govt must remove restrictions on importation of cheap sugar from Malawi, else smuggling to Mchinji will still continue.

  6. #5 so true, cross-border smuggling is not even considered as that among people living on border lines. They simply trade among themselves. Who can control all the little paths criss-crossing Zambia’s border lines?

    #4 you are correct on that “processing fee” issue, it seems to be a very deep set mentality everywhere.

  7. #4 Zedian
    The only way to stop this scum at CEEC is to strenghen regulations and to reduce the unnecessary paper work on application for funds. Finance is also a business value chain than can make our traders do business competitively. Cadre or no cadre CEEC is a national institution for all citizens.
    #5 Don’t you think removing this restriction will harm our own Zambia Sugar plc? Moreover Malawian sugar is not fortified and a sure sign of nutrient deficiency in our people.

  8. #5, akulu kazi…lifting that ban will surely make people in Mazabuka dance more poverty…Zed Sugar PLC will lose out on Market Share…as much as competition is healthy, you got to regulate how you let go;)

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