South Africa’s xenophobic violence has negatively affected trading activities between Malawi and her more developed neighbour South Africa, an official confirmed in Lilongwe on Monday.Land-locked Malawi imports 60 percent of its goods from South Africa annually.
According to Trade, Industry and Tourism Ministry spokesperson Meyaso Msokera, the deadly violence has led to fears that the bilateral trade between Lilongwe and Pretoria could be affected even more should the turbulence continue in the rainbow nation.
The violence, targeting foreign nationals, started two weeks ago and has seen foreign nationals’ businesses being set alight and looted.
Some 12 people have also been killed in the mayhem.
Msokera said the development in South Africa has led to loss of business as most Malawian traders have been forced to cancel their business trips to that country.
He said: “Most of our traders who are involved in regular cross-border business cannot travel nor can they access South African shops and supermarkets where they can do their transactions as some of them are closed and extensively damaged.”
Malawi’s Cross Border Traders Association President Esther Tchukambiri said in an interview that individual cross border traders were losing out as they were failing to travel to South Africa to order most of their supplies.
As a result, she said, local businesses here were bearing the brunt of the unrest as they are forced to suspend their business trips to South Africa.