Business & Trade

Business, trade, investment and tourism are an important part of the relationship between Scotland and Malawi, and hence are a key part of the SMP’s work.

We recognise that Malawi’s long-term sustainable economic development will come from business and trade, rather than aid. That’s why we are committed to promoting and supporting ethical and sustainable business. We do this in a number of ways.

Malawi-UK Business Group

At the request of the Malawi High Commissioner, the SMP has had a key role in the development and leadership of the Malawi-UK Business Group, which brings together key organisations and individuals in the UK engaged in business and trade with Malawi.

It exists to support, facilitate and develop business flow, create new investment opportunities and integrate Malawi-UK co-operation in the global market.​

The SMP is an elected member of the Group’s Executive and is supporting its phased transition to becoming a full Chamber of Commerce.

Trade

The SMP helps build Scottish markets for sustainable Malawian exports. We are especially keen to support products which are ethical, Fair Trade or where there has been value added within Malawi.

Examples of fantastic Malawian products available in Scotland include:

Kilomberorice

Kilombero rice (Just Trading Scotland)

Kilombero rice is fragrant and incredibly tasty rice which is highly versatile rice. It’s ability to really absorb flavours from vegetables, fish, and meat makes it ideally suited for risotto.

SMP Members, Just Trading Scotland, have a longstanding relationship with the small-holders farmers in the north of Malawi and are trusted partners of the SMP. They have a fantastic ‘90kg Rice Challenge’ (the amount needed for a Malawian farmer to pay for a year’s basic secondary education for one child) is a great way for Scottish schools and churches to support Malawi.

You can buy the rice online.

Mzuzu coffee

Did you know that the first coffee plant in Malawi was introduced in the 1870s by Scots, with the original plants from the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh!

With altitude, climate and weather conditions ideal for cultivating quality coffee Mzuzu is fast growing a reputation as one of the best coffee growing regions in the world.

Tourism

While we recognise that travel is not currently possible due to Covid-19, and we encourage our members and partners to consider their carbon footprint, we recognise that tourism is a key part of the Malawian economy and are happy to promote ethical travel to Malawi.

There is a reason Malawi has earned the title the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’: it is a fantastic place to visit, with something for everyone in a warm, friendly and safe environment. It has beautiful white sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Malawi, awe inspiring landscapes and wildlife, luxury lodges, off the beaten track adventures and opportunities to experience authentic traditional rural life.

Tourism also offers Malawi a key opportunity for sustainable development of the local economy. It brings in much needed foreign currency, offers local people employment and ensures the future of conservation of Malawi’s National Parks and fragile ecosystems, such as Lake Malawi and Mount Mulanje.

For more details, guides, maps, advice and more visit Malawi Tourism.

We are also happy to recommend our travel partners Orbis Expeditions and their Malawi trading company the Responsible Safari Company who offer unique experiences designed for groups, including schools, universities and businesses, which include opportunities to complete challenges (e.g. hiking and cycling) and work on community development projects. This is team building on a whole other level.

Mulanje Photo

Investment

At a macro-level Malawi is making real progress towards reducing its dependency on development aid and attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI) to grow the country's economy. For this investment to have the desired impact, and improve the lives of the eight million Malawians that live on less than £1/day, Malawi must grow the private sector to be able to support the development and growth of new and existing enterprises. This in turn leads to job creation and results in a multiplier effect in terms of economic activity: people have more disposable income to spend in their communities, which supports the growth of other businesses.

For practical information and guidance about investing in Malawi please visit the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre.

Malawi has an estimated 1 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), ranging from 1 to 100 employees. Many of these MSMEs are operating in the informal economy and without access to financial capital often struggle to survive and grow. A number of the SMP members (see below) are engaged in this area on the ground in Malawi, working with a range of entrepreneurs and MSMEs to provide them with access to funds (mainly via repayable loans) but also training and support. Without such levels of small-scale investment, benefits from larger scale investment cannot be sustained or accessed by the wider population.

To find out more about how you can get involved please visit our members' sites, below.

Entrepreneurs and micro enterprises

Small to Medium Enterprise development

Advocacy

The SMP is active in supporting lobbying and advocacy work relating to business, trade, investment and tourism. For example:

  • We encourage businesses to work in a sustainable and ethical manner, prioritising Malawi’s long-term sustainable economic development and the welfare of the people of Malawi, wherever possible.

  • We lobby CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation), the UK Government’s development finance institute, to increase its sustainable investments in Malawi, helping CDC connect with SMP members.

  • We lobby the UK Government to update its 1955 Double Taxation Treaty with Malawi. This is one of the UK’s oldest and least equitable double taxation treaties. It was signed nine years before Malawi gained independence, between the UK Government and the UK Government’s appointed Governor of Nyasaland, Geoffrey Francis Taylor Colby. The treaty unfairly favours the UK and limits the ability of the Government of Malawi to tax UK firms operating there.

We have had repeated debates and questions in the UK Parliament about this treaty and have received repeated assurances over many years that the UK Government will update the treaty. It has not.

We lobby the UK Government to look for the post-Brexit trading opportunities with Malawi which genuinely help support long-term sustainable economic development in Malawi.