Malawi is next month scheduled to host the annual conference of the African Consumer Protection Dialogue, an international network of consumer protection agencies in Africa and the US.

According to local consumer protection arm, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission, this is partly in recognition of the work the Commission has done since it was established leading it to be recognized on the international front.

CFTC Executive Director, Wezi Malonda said that some of the topical issues that will be discussed at the conference will include: consumer protection issues in the financial sectors and how they can be enforced, mobile money payments and cyber threats to business and consumer issues in the energy sector and their impact on consumers and businesses.

“All the topics I have just mentioned are relevant to Malawi in a number of ways. For instance, the emergence of new mobile technologies has led to a surge in the number of Malawians using mobile phones for banking, money transfers within the market and online payment of goods and services,” Malonda said.

She said there have been some concerns that have been brought to the attention of the Commission which show that there are trading practices that impede full enjoyment of consumer rights in the financial and mobile technology sectors in the country.

“While we are currently working with the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority on how to deal with these issues, we are hoping to learn from the experiences of other regulatory authorities across the continent and in the US on how they are dealing with similar situations,” she said.
Malonda says CFTC joined the African Dialogue in 2013 when it was hosted in Livingstone, Zambia.

The African Consumer Protection Dialogue was established in 2009 with a view to provide a n opportunity to African governments, civil society organisations and the US Government to interface with each other and share best practices on the enforcement of consumer protection issues.

The conference, which is now in its sixth year, is scheduled to be held from the 8th to 10th September under the theme, “Strengthening the Framework for Dealing with Cross Border Consumer Violations”.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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