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Malawi Seeking Textile Investors

Published date:
Friday, 14 November 2003

The Malawian government is inviting investors to submit proposals to venture into textile manufacturing in that country following the operational problems that have rocked its leading textile manufacturing firm, Mapeto DWSM.

Malawi has been relying on Mapeto DWSM, as the supplier of textile materials to garment manufacturers, to export to preferential markets mainly in the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

The former State-owned company, which used to be known as David Whitehead & Sons before being privatised last September, says it will, however, have to suspend production for at least two months because the new owners have found 80% of the machines at the company defunct.

“Machines that are here are not in good shape to go into full-scale production. The company will need to close down for six to eight weeks to remedy the situation,” says Mapeto DWSM export manager Martin Mpata, who is unsure of the actual date the company will resume operations.

Malawi’s commerce and industry minister, Sam Mpasu, says following the development his government is inviting interested textile investors to start production in Malawi.

“The problems at DWSM should not be underestimated. It means all gar-ment manufacturers that export to the US under Agoa are also in a fix. They cannot import textiles from anywhere because that would be against the laid-down rules as Agoa needs all materials to be locally sourced,” says Mpasu.

He says his government will ensure that the incoming investors, which are expected to supply raw materials to the companies affected by the Mapeto DWSM saga, are offered attractive incentives. The garment manufacturers are already feeling the pinch of the situation at Mapeto DWSM.

Kantilal Desai, GM for one of the leading garment-manufacturing firms in the country, Knitwear Industries, says his company has been forced to stop production of other US-market-bound products because there is no supply of yarn from Mapeto DWSM. Mpasu says his government fears that such affected investors will relo-cate to other countries.

Meanwhile, a consortium of Taiwan-ese firm Kai Team Enterprise and Knit-wear Industries has submitted its proposal to set up a textile firm, Win Win Textile, in Malawi’s southern town of Liwonde. The company has planned an initial investment of $11-million. Malawi exported garments and textiles worth $13,4-million in 2002, which was much less than the textile exports of other countries, such as Mauritius, which exported $240-million-worth of products, and Lesotho, which exported $200-million.

Latest Trade Data

Click here to view a sector profile of Malawi’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated into total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

For more about AGOA click here .

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include:

  • All Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Overview

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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