Malawi’s move to open two cooking oil canters with a capacity to produce over three million litres of cooking oil annually, to help reduce its volumes of imported cooking oil, is a step in the right direction. The country imports about 4.5 million litres of unrefined cooking oil every year.
Malawi’s move is an echo of a growing movement in Africa that is urging the continent to look inward. In East Africa, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda could all ban second-hand clothes and leather by 2019 to stimulate local textile industries. The region has also decried exporting cotton and importing readymade clothes. In West Africa, Nigerians are urging the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to roll out a total petroleum products importation ban between 2018 and 2019 to reform and reposition the nation’s oil and gas industry. The country, though a significant oil producer, is reliant on imported gasoline, kerosene and other petroleum products for lack of local oil refining capacity.
This move to maximize on the potential within the continent ought to be given traction and extend to the continent’s abundant physical and intellectual resources. When all is said and done, Africa will cease to be a recipient of development aid.