President Peter Mutharika has assured the visiting Vice President for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation-OPIC that Malawi’s investment climate has improved tremendously such that foreigners are now free to open up businesses in the country.
Professor Mutharika was speaking when he met in audience the Vice President for OPIC Mr John Polan who was in the country to attend the first ever Malawi Investment Forum which took place from 29th to 30th June in Lilongwe.
President Mutharika said Malawi currently has a good picture of what it wants to develop and that the climate has improved for the better.
“The current report from the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry-MCCCI has shown that the country has made a lot of progress in creating a conducive environment for investors,” he said.
He said the country is stable and that government has taken extra steps to improve security for both domestic and commercial residents.
The Malawi leader added that the country’s business environment is largely filled by small and medium enterprises who usually experience problems in accessing loans from the commercial banks.
“Our main concern as a country is the lack of access to loans for our SME’s who are the main players in the economy. Banks in the country charge huge amounts of interests and we look forward to the coming in of OPIC to provide such relief,” he added.
In his remarks the OPIC Veep, said he has received an incredibly positive response from the various enterprises since he arrived in the country.
“I have received response from the energy, agro-industry, logistics, food processing, finance, tourism and cold storage sectors and I think OPIC now has some work to do here in Malawi,” said Mr Polan.
And responding to the president’s concern about exorbitant lending rates, Mr Polan said OPIC is in consultation with the country’s banks to provide long guarantees for SMEs.
“OPIC is now in consultation with the country’s banks. We hope they can be able to provide long guarantees for small and medium enterprises to thrive and grow,” he disclosed.
Mr Polan is responsible for small and medium enterprises at the OPIC and is in the country to attend the MIF at the invitation of President Mutharika