For all Trade and Investment opportunities in Malawi please visit: www.mitc.mw
INVESTING IN MALAWI
HOW TO INVEST: AN OVERVIEW
The first point of call for investment in Malawi is the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC). The Centre is a government institution mandated to offer one-stop services to prospective investors.
STARTING A NEW BUSINESS IN MALAWI
1. Incorporation of Company
- Prospective investors are required to incorporate a company in Malawi with the Registrar of Companies (a representative office is now established at MITC) before proceeding further with any investment-related activities. The Registrar of companies issues a certificate of incorporation once a company is registered.
- A local legal firm can be appointed as the registration agent and the registration fees are payable in Malawi Kwacha. The fees depend on the share capital of the company.
- The main documentation for Registration is the Article of Association; Memorandum of Association; and a Notary Public obligatory for external companies and the documents must be notarised in the country of origin. The documents should be in English.
- Incorporation of a company takes Maximum of 5 working days.
- After incorporation, a foreign company is required to register the amount of its capital inflow with the Reserve Bank of Malawi through commercial banks in Malawi. Companies are also required to register with the Commissioner of Taxes for payment of Corporate and withholding taxes.
- The obligations for Registration include the following:
- A company is required to maintain books of accounts.
- Employment of national staff is encouraged though not obligatory.
- Income tax and corporate tax are both mandatory.
- It is not obligatory to announce company formation in the media.
- If an external company ceases to carry on business in Malawi, it simply informs the Registrar of companies by filing a Notice of Cessation of Business in Malawi. There is no cost and this can be done in a matter of days.
2. Minimum Investment Capital Requirement
- Prospective investors are required to invest a minimum capital of US$50,000 in order to be eligible to apply for Investment Certificate, Immigration permits, land and sector-specific approvals, permits and licences with the Malawi Investment Trade Centre.
3. Obtainment of Investment Certificate
- Any investor investing any amount equal to or above US$50,000 shall make application for an Investment certificate from Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC).
- The applications shall be accompanied by a Business Proposal providing full details of the project and its requirements (expatriate staff, land e.tc.).
- Upon receipt of the application, the Malawi Investment Trade Centre shall process the application and conduct a background check on the company. The application shall be summarised and sent to the Investment Approval Committee for appraisal and approval.
- When the Committee is satisfied with the application, it shall approve and issue an investment certificate.
- Upon approval, the investor shall pay US$500 or an equivalent amount in Malawi Kwacha for the investment certificate.
- The process of issuance of investment certificate takes 5 working days.
4. Obtainment of Resident/Employment Permit
- All foreign investors shall submit an application to Malawi Investment and Trade Centre for either a Business Resident Permit (BRP) or Employment Permit.
- New applications for Business Resident Permit (BRP) shall include duly completed application forms for BRP, a business proposal which includes full details of the proposed investment project, two passport-size photos, and police clearance report from the country of origin.
- New applications for an Employment Permit (EP) shall include duly completed applications forms, two copies of curriculum vitae of the applicant and two passport-size photos.
- The processed applications are presented to the Malawi Investment Approval Committee for consideration.
- When approved, the Chief Executive Officer of Malawi Investment Trade Centre immediately obtains the Employment Permit (EP) and Business Resident Permit (BRP) from the Chief immigration Officer.
- On issuance of the Business Resident Permit (BRP) or Employment Permit (EP), the investor shall be required to pay US$800 and US$ 820 or an equivalent amount in Malawi Kwacha, for the issuance of a Business Resident Permit (BRP) and Employment Permit (EP), respectively.
5. Selected Business Facts
- Business Hours
Normal business operating hours are 07.30hrs to 12.00hrs noon, 13.00hrs to 17.00hrs, with a lunch break between 12.00 noon and 13.00hrs. Most offices close during this time. Banks open at 08.00hrs and close at 15.00hrs.
There is only one operator of fixed lines in Malawi, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL). There are three cellular phone operators namely Telekom Networks Malawi, Airtel and Access. Postal services are mainly provided by the Malawi Post Corporation. There are a number of internet and courier service providers. Internet cafés or bureaux can be found in all major cities and towns of Malawi at affordable rates.
- Electricity Supply
Malawi’s electricity is the 220-240 volts, 50 hertz alternating current system. The three-pin plugs used are of British ‘square bayonet’ pin type, not the round pin South African type.