JUBA, South Sudan– The governments of South Sudan and Malawi on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at boosting agriculture and inter-border trade between the two countries.
Under the MoU, Malawi will among other things start exporting products such Maize, Maize Flour, Sugar, Rice, Groundnuts and Beans whilst South Sudan will be exporting products such as petroleum and bitumen to Malawi.
The MoU was signed by His Excellency Kuol Athian Mawien, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Sudan and Malawi Minister of Trade, Hon Sosten Gwengwe.
While addressing the press during the signing ceremony, Hon. Kuol Athian Mawien, said the deal will allow Malawi to export its surplus food to South Sudan, which is facing a food deficit, with cereals estimated at 465,600 metric tons this year.
“We as South Sudanese welcome the initiative by the Ministry of Trade of Malawi. We encourage our businessmen community and the business community of Malawi to interact and do business with honesty,” Mawien said.
He added that his ministry would like the controller banks in both Malawi and South Sudan to channel the exchange between the two countries.
Businessmen in Malawi will have to send Invoice of the prices of commodities in Malawi including transportation fees. After approval, food imported from Malawi will be put in the warehouse and supplied to all the 10 states in South Sudan.
Sosten Gwengwe, Malawian Minister of Trade who signed on behalf of his government said the MoU is the first step in realizing the two country’s shared vision in bringing prosperity through trade which will build a foundation, deepen and broaden their cooperation.
“Malawi has a lot of surplus agricultural commodities – we produced about 4 million tons of maize this season and we only consumed about 3 million. Now we have 1 million tons which really must find a market somewhere,” Mr. Gwengwe said.
“South Sudan being new and an emerging economy carries a lot of our hope for the rapid growth of trade and investment relations across a broad spectrum of areas. We are gathered here as we seek to build stronger relations between Malawi and the Republic of South Sudan that will generate opportunities for our people,” he added.
Malawi will export an estimated 1.2 million metric tons of surplus cereals. The mode of trade between the two countries will be based on preferential trade where each country will only import or export what the other country doesn’t produce.
Malawian Minister also noted that The MoU between Malawi and South Sudan is a reflection of The African Continental Free Trade Area that looks forward to a borderless region, thus positioning Africa as one market.
The signing event was also attended by, Secretary for Trade, Ms Christina Zakeyo; Ms. Kanayo Awani, Managing Director for Intra-African Trade Initiative at Afreximbank and Senior officials from the Governments of Malawi and South Sudan.