Malawi: Market access and trade capacity-building support for agro-industrial products (MATCB) project

Boosting economic growth through inclusive trade facilitation


Trade is an engine for growth that may lift many Malawians out of poverty. Currently, Malawi is unable to significantly penetrate foreign markets due to limited quality infrastructure and the absence of an internationally recognized accreditation body. Conformity assessment activities (testing, calibration, certification and inspection) require accreditation to ensure the country’s growth in exports. The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) sets and implements standards and conducts conformity tests on selected imports and exports. However, certificates from MBS are not widely recognized and exporters incur high costs to obtain certification overseas.


Developmental partners have recognized the importance of coordinated interventions and technical assistance to provide Malawi with the support to overcome supply-side constraints and to upgrade its industrial base. UNIDO has signed an Administrative Agreement with NORAD for the implementation of the MATCB Project in Malawi. This project, which is being implemented in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Private Sector Development since July 2013 aims to enhance Malawi’s capacity for product certification, which is critical for the promotion of exports in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II). 

Upon successful implementation of the MATCB Project, the MBS will be equipped with a physical infrastructure and technical expertise to ensure that their certification of goods and services are recognized and accepted in markets beyond the Southern African Development Community and the Eastern and Southern African region.


• The Government of Malawi commits to a quality culture and to supporting the MBS services by providing a strengthened legislative and institutional environment in support of the national metrology infrastructure

• The Legal Metrology Department of the MBS-National Metrology Institute (MBS-NMI) is recognized nationally, regionally and internationally, and is upgraded; and type approval and verification services are enhanced for consumer protection

• Certificates issued by MBS of calibration services performed in support of legal metrology services are accepted nationally, regionally and internationally

• NASFAM processing associations have improved access to local, regional and foreign markets through strengthened testing and export certification, and a quality system implemented in selected value chains

• Governance and monitoring systems are established for local ownership and project sustainability.


The MATCB Project in Malawi aims to support the enhancement of the national quality infrastructure (NQI). Its purpose is to improve quality, safety and marketability of Malawian goods and services by removing technical barriers for trade. Allowing the country to improve its competitiveness in the global market by having an adequate and sustainable NQI in place, consistent with international and regional principles. This will be achieved through this targeted intervention in legal and industrial metrology with the Malawi Bureau of Standards and in providing support to smallholder farmers who are the project’s main beneficiaries.

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