Malawi-China Investment Forum To Advance Industralization Drive For Economic Development
Malawi’s transition from aid to trade demands massive industrialization drive which should be underlined by building capacity among local investors and courting foreign investors into the economy, says President Arthur Peter Mutharika.
He was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday when he opened the Malawi-China Investment Forum.
“We have a broader investment agenda because we are broadening and diversifying the sources of our economy. We are moving Malawi from a consuming and importing economy to a producing and exporting economy. Therefore, you have come at the right time in our history, “ said the President.
He added, “Moving Malawi from aid to trade demands that we must be producing and exporting in several sectors. We are therefore inviting direct investment in agriculture and agro-processing, energy, mining, ICT, tourism, infrastructure and manufacturing, and many more.”
President Mutharika reiterated the importance of the private sector in achieving the investment goal.
“Our policy on the private sector is clear. We believe that the private sector is the driver of economic development in this country. We believe that foreign and domestic investment is the engine of economic development. We are focusing on developing the private sector in order to create more jobs for our people, “ he said.
He assured both local and foreign investors of his government’s commitment to create a conducive business environment through economic, administrative, legislative and regulatory reforms.
The event which has been convened under the theme “Fostering Production Capacity Cooperation between Malawi and Anhui Province of China” has brought about 100 investors from Anhui Province of China and 250 local businesses at the two-day event.
Areas of focus during the event will be Industry, Agriculture, Agro-Processing and Education.
The invetsment forum was first discussed when APM visited Anhui Province in August 2015 where he courted investors from the region to bring their businesses to Malawi.
Leader of the Chinese delegation, Song Weiping, hopes the forum will bear fruits that will trickle down to the population through job creation and spin-off small and medium ventures.
Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Shi-Ting Wang, said the cooperation between the two countries aims at achieving win-win outcomes for both populations through trade and cultural exchanges.
He added that investment is the best way to go for Malawi than donations.
The forum is one of the best interventions by Malawi to boost exports to China in a trading regime where there is a huge trade imbalance between the two countries.
As of last year’s stats Malawi exported goods and services valued at $55 million which only represents 5. 2 percent of total exports. On the other hand the country imported from China goods and services worth $303 million imports from China·
Anhui Province – which has a population of 70 million – has a gross domestic product (GDP) estimate that stands at $350 billion dollars which is the same as that of South Africa.
The province has vibrant industries in Automobile, Mechanics and Agro-processing among others.