Business and Regulatory Environment


The World Bank Doing Business Report (2013) ranked Malawi 171th out of 189 economies, which is a fall of 10 places on the previous year ranking. Malawi’s lower rank than the regional average in Doing Business Report is at odds with its higher LPI index than the average. This is because some progress have been made in logistics whereas new, more regressive policies have been undertaken in areas such as dealing with construction permits and paying taxes. Among its 10 categories, Malawi performs relatively well in terms of registering property and protecting investors, yet in all other areas Malawi performs unfavourably. The public sector is not only the largest employer but also the biggest hurdle in Malawian economy. Parastatals and state owned enterprises are main players in the energy, water, and agriculture sectors, but at the same time, the slow, costly and inconsistent regulatory framework hampers vibrancy in the private sector. Moreover, Malawi is open to foreign and domestic investment, receiving equal treatment and not being subjected to state screening except for environmental, health, and national security concerns. The efforts to improve the investment environment have been pursued with new legislation coming into force since 2012. However, such efforts have been limited by factors such as high transportation costs, poor power and water supply, complex bureaucracy and a lack of skilled labour. Significant preferential treatment for Malawian investors still remains, for instance foreign nationals may have a maximum ownership level of 49 per cent in formerly state owned firms (Bertelsmann Siftung 2014; U.S. Department of State 2013; World Bank 2013).

The Business Environment: Doing Business

Multilateral Trade Instruments


The Trade Treaties Map tool is a web-based system on multilateral trade treaties and instruments designed to assist trade support institutions (TSIs) and policymakers in optimizing their country's legal framework on international trade

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