Imani recently started implementation of a programme of activities towards trade negotiations capacity building for the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Malawi (MoIT), funded by DFID’s Trade Advocacy Fund (TAF). The project will focus primarily on two trade negotiations areas: the drafting of a new trade negotiations framework for Malawi, as well as designing a trade negotiations management strategy based on an organisational analysis of current trade negotiations structures. While the negotiations framework will set out key objectives for upcoming trade negotiations in the next 12 – 24 months, the management strategy will look to ensure that the MoIT and other ministries function as a well-coordinated unit ahead of trade negotiations.

Imani will also provide capacity building support to the MoIT and other relevant ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), looking to ensure more effective trade negotiations. One of the key areas where capacity building efforts will focus is the National Working Group on Trade Policy (NWGTP). By strengthening the working group and entrenching the negotiating team within this platform it is envisaged that a more sustainable trade negotiating team can be built up. The various capacity building instruments to be used will include workshops with key private and public sector stakeholders, mentoring trade negotiators and, together with ministry officials, developing toolkits for trade negotiators.

In order to ensure TAF assistance is both relevant and sustainable, all activities will closely align with Malawi’s broader development agenda, as set out in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II). This strategy prioritises production and export growth, as outlined in the National Export Strategy (NES) and implemented through the Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development Sector-wide Approach (TIPSWAp) framework. TIPSWAp is a prioritising, programming and coordinating approach that is meant to drive the unlocking of Malawi’s productive economy. It also acts as a consultative forum, engaging key stakeholders from MDAs and the private sector on relevant issues.

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