Commercial banks in Malawi have agreed to start providing financial support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that would enable them to venture in export trade.
The initiative aims at complementing government efforts to address recurrent foreign exchange (forex) shortage.
To set the ball rolling, Export Development Fund (EDF), a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), organized a training to equip players in the industry with skills to enable them access financing for export trade.
Speaking on the sidelines of a training organized by Export Development Fund (EDF) in Lilongwe last week, NBM Development Bank General Manager, Bernard Masi, said the training was in response to the mandate the banks have to ensure that various players involved in the actual export business are aware of various instruments that are available to facilitate trade and exports.
“As Malawian development financing institutions like EDF, NBM Development Bank, we came together to organize this training to equip various players on instruments that are available to facilitate exports so we thought it wise to do our part in assisting the country in the issues of forex generation. As forex financial institutions, we have the mandate to play part in the development of the country. So, part of that mandate is to facilitate import substitution as well as generation of exports,” he said.
Masi said they have added an element of import substitution, which aims to save and generate forex.
He further stated that they are also playing a part in the mega farms initiatives through provision of finance to various players within the mega farms initiatives.
“Currently, we are funding both AGCOM, AGRIMEC, mechanisation as well as commercialisation and value addition as well as agro-processing. So, as NBM Development Bank, we are financing SMEs within that sector and we also have our colleagues who are financing the bigger players within that value chain,” he narrated.
“So, indeed our efforts are bearing fruits, but we want to be on the same page with the actual stakeholders that do the farming and the exports so that they are aware of these methods that are available and that they can tap to ensure that their operations, in terms of exports, are smooth.”