There is a very slim chance that the International Trade Fair will happen this year, considering the coronavirus pandemic.
Besides the annual event being a public gathering, there are flight restrictions which may hinder the presence of individuals even if authorities would somehow allow the fair to happen. The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has announced that though there is doubt that the event may happen, they are monitoring the situation.
The trade fair is a platform on which local businesses showcase products to potential international buyers and investors, while providing exposure. The pandemic poses yet another hindrance, as last year the event was not successful due to political tension in the country.
During the period, the fair was postponed after five countries pulled out, citing the tension amidst the political environment in the country; Indonesia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and China had pulled out of the fair after noting that Malawi is amidst rejection towards the results of the 21 May Tripartite Elections. When the fair happened, the President was not available to launch it, as per custom, while the event saw a very low attendance altogether.
On the other hand, local businesses remain hopeful as the Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo recently met about 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to involve them in the Tonse Alliance’s one million jobs creation drive.
Kandodo said the ministry is working on modalities to improve the country’s business environment to ensure that businesses thrive.
“SMEs are a critical aspect in creating jobs in our country. We, however, realise that they are facing a number of challenges , but we are committed to creating vibrant and productive SMEs who will help in job creation and skills development.”