Trade Data Analysis

Malawi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

Malawi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

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This trade update provides a country analysis of Malawi’s trade relations with Africa, including tariff analysis. All data is sourced from the United Nations (UN) International Trade Centre (ITC) TradeMap and Market Access Map (MacMap) databases. We use the most recent data available from these databases and we are cognizant of the challenges to access of reliable and quality data. Therefore, this analysis at best provides an indicative picture of Malawi’s Africa trade profile.

Intra-Africa trade

Malawi’s trade with Africa is relatively diversified for exports and concentrated for imports. In 2017, intra-Africa exports and imports were valued at about US$297 million and US$758 million, respectively. Intra-African exports accounted for 33% of Malawi’s global exports while intra-African imports accounted for 30% of Malawi’s global imports.

The bulk of exports were destined to the COMESA and SADC region in 2017. Top export destinations included South Africa, Tanzania and Egypt, which have a combined share of 63% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa trade. Top 10 export destinations accounted for 92% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa exports. Other top 10 destinations were Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Kenya.

In terms of import sources, South Africa accounted for 60% of Malawi’s imports in 2017. Malawi’s top 10 import sources accounted for 95% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa imports.

Top export products included Raw tobacco; Oil cake (animal feed); Tea; Groundnuts; and Soya beans, among others. Top 10 products accounted for 75% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa exports. Top imports on the other hand included Unmanufactured tobacco; tobacco refuse; Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps; Cement; Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers and Pesticides & herbicides, among others. Malawi’s top 10 intra-Africa imports accounted for 33% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa imports.

Intra-Africa tariff analysis

Malawi has the following preferential trade arrangements:

  • Free-trade agreement duty rate for the Republic of Mozambique
  • Free-trade agreement duty rate for the Republic of South Africa
  • Preferential duty rates for Zimbabwe
  • Preferential duty rates for Botswana
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC) preferential duty rates
  • Preferential duty rates for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Duty Free products include Pharmaceutical products; Inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotopes; Fertilizers; Organic chemicals; and Railway, tramway locomotives, rolling stock, equipment.

Maximum Tariffs are levied on Peppers (30%); Food products (Meat; Fish; edible fruits & vegetables) – 25%; Clothing Textiles and Footwear – 25%; and Baskets; Umbrellas; Walking Sticks – 25%.

With the exclusion of COMESA and IGAD, Malawi’s total intra-Africa imports were valued at US$1.7 million in 2017 which is equivalent to 0.2% of Malawi’s total intra-Africa imports. Of all products imported, the average tariff rate was about 13%. Main products included Monitors & Projectors; fertilisers; Vehicles for the transport of goods; and Medicaments. Top 10 imports from these countries accounted for almost 91% of Malawi’s non-REC intra-Africa imports in 2017.


Malawi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | July 2018
Infographic: Malawi – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | July 2018
Malawi: Intra-Africa trade data spreadsheet | July 2018

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