African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced its support for the first ever memorandum of understanding (MoU) on trade collaboration between the Governments of Malawi and South Sudan. The Bank will provide financial backing and payment instruments to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities and essential consumer goods between the two nations.
The MoU was signed on 10 June 2021 in Juba by the Minister of Trade of Malawi, the Honourable Sosten Gwengwe, and the Minister of Trade and Industry of South Sudan, the Honourable Kuol Athian Mawien, as part of the programme of activities that marked the state visit of the President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah, to Juba.
The five-year agreement will allow Malawi to export grain and other agricultural products to South Sudan. The country currently has a surplus of grain totalling 1.2 million metric tonnes, which if exported will generate additional jobs for Malawian workers and benefit consumers in South Sudan. South Sudan will, meanwhile, be able to supply commodities such as petroleum products and bitumen to Malawi, supporting development and wealth creation in the South Sudanese economy.
While the agreement was struck at government level, implementation will be managed by private sector institutions, which will be responsible for the procurement and distribution of grains and petroleum products. The Export Development Fund of Malawi (EDF), in its role as the country’s export credit agency, is facilitating trade by arranging local financing and issuing guarantees to local banks that support exporters in Malawi.
The MoU represents a major step in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). It demonstrates the value-creating potential of export development and regional integration, while also illustrating Malawi’s ability to diversify its foreign exchange earnings. Moreover, by ensuring access to expanded markets, the agreement provides young people in each country with the prospect of emerging opportunities in which to seek stable employment.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said:
“This is a historic moment for Malawi and South Sudan that showcases the promise of the AfCFTA in action. By taking their first ever steps into trade collaboration, both countries will unlock new channels for inclusive wealth creation and secure high-quality jobs for their people.
Afreximbank is proud to be working with both Governments and the Malawi Export Development Fund to enable the flow of trade. The collaboration between Malawi and South Sudan will demonstrate the value of export development and regional integration, paving the way for others to follow this path to prosperity.”