Mutharika heads to China: Malawi ‘looks east’ policy

Malawi President Peter Mutharika from Sunday will be visiting China for an official visit to advance his government’s ‘Look East’ foreign policy after being dumped by West on aid.

President Mutharika with  Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs , Zang Ming at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe

President Mutharika with Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs , Zang Ming at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe

Mutharika’s takes the ‘Look East’ policy to Beijing to further trade deals to help rescue Malawi’s ailing economy, which is suffering the effects of an aid freeze by Western lenders following a  growing scandal over government graft known as Cashgate which has been bedevilling the nation since 2005.

During the official visit, Nyasa Times understands that Mutharika and his delegation expect to strike a number of commercial and loan agreements in exchange for trade and mineral concessions.

Mutharika applauds the Chinese Government for playing a significant role in transforming Malawi’s socio-economic landscape since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 27th December, 2007.

The Malawi leader is on record saying he feels“ grateful “ that the Chinese have been investing in sanitation projects in Malawi, a critical social program for the public health, and the Chinese companies in the southern African impoverished nation are actively taking up their social responsibilities while engaging in economic activities in the country.

Malawi, which depends on mostly Western donors to bankroll most of its development programs, has benefitted a lot of infrastructure development with support of the Chinese – of course most on long term loans.

Mutharika, the brother of president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April 2012, declared that Malawi will look for “new friends” in countries such as Russia and China – nations who care less on issues of human rights and governance.

Notable projects that China has helped Malawi include the New Parliament building, Karonga-Chitipa –Road and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) with a 80 million U.S. dollars loan. The university has been operating since 2014.

Mutharika said China in last October provided his government a credit line of 25 million U.S. dollars in aid for which Lilongwe officials will propose a number of social projects, particularly the building of schools to tap the fund.

China recently pledged more support for Malawi in several areas including education, Health, Agriculture, Transport, Business and Telecommunication.

Chinese business people have established retail shops across Malawi mostly selling cheap electrical goods, clothes, blankets, toys and beauty products.

Many Malawians, however, complain that some Chinese products, were seen as unreliable with some people using the term ‘zhing zhong’, which derisively refers to the cheap Chinese good.

But some say people should not complain about the substandard goods because they are for not well-to-do while those that have money can go and buy things from expensive shops.


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49 thoughts on “Mutharika heads to China: Malawi ‘looks east’ policy”

  1. kholowa mkabudula says:

    Mukunya muona simunati, corruption no 1 kupemphanso no1, poti ngakhale china yo naye atopa nafe ndikuba kwakwe kumeneku? Pa Malawi pathu siposauka ayi koma ifeyo ndi anthu opusa kwambili padziko lonse lapansi. Ndiye ameneyu mumkamunyadila mukuyankhula moyelekedwa lero ndizimenezi mululilanji? West didn’t dump Malawi but Malawi is dumping the west because it doesn’t want to co-operate on cash gate. Even if it was your money how could you feel? Tilila mpaka titulutse chitosi!

  2. medrian kaunda says:

    The government will do VERY unfavourable deals to keep the DPP ship from sinking already this year, Whatever happens in the East will be unfavorable to Malawi, selling out further.

  3. Commissioner of Truths says:

    Wooing investors ndi nkhope yake itiyo? This man simply wants a nice noodle meal of sweet and sour dog meat.

    Abwelako ndi chiwewe like his brother.

  4. mdk says:

    Poti even the west are heading to the same east cos as of now they are the economic power house.timazinamizilanji amalawi. Even the west is now talking about teaching mandarin in schools

  5. Ganesh the Wise says:

    Oh stop it! Be clear on ONE thing: donors GIVE us money.
    The Chinese LEND us money and they want it paid back WITH INTEREST.

    Question: When will the Govt have to start paying off the loan for parliament and the White Elephant Hotel? And how much each year will go to Beijing instead of buying drugs or paying teachers?

    For heaven’s sake Malawi -wake up

  6. Challo says:

    Hi fellow Malawians
    Do you / we, like to see our / your people suffering to death, because you and me hate China?
    Are we Malawians, really following world current affairs?
    Didn’t we, you and me heard about the mighty AMERICA borrowing triollions of $ Dollers from CHINA, the country you / me despise and hate?
    Countrymen, the fact that the president is LOMWE, does not mean that he is only one to benefit from the development taking place in this country.
    Let us not waste our precious time, in such way.

  7. Masoambeta says:

    You voted for APM. Bear what follows next. Be prepared for the worst strife while the politicians are living large.
    Malawi will never develop. We have no standards at all.

  8. che says:

    can somebody check the delegation coz i saw his in laws on the list?

  9. Cashgett says:

    Going to east???ummm!maybe,but why now,as long as corruption continues to run the government sectors there will be no change, adopting federal system is an option.

  10. BINGU had a sound thinking ,this one is a drifting paper on the sea, no direction on its own at all.

  11. If you want substandard life lets go to china,if we want good solid and standard life West is the answer Mr president because they have values. Imagin not even one Syrian refugee has wasted the voyage to go to China why?. And this one masquerading as a presdent goes to China for what? Yet the cadres will clap hands him.

  12. hisbolla says:


  13. The Chinese hang those found guilty of corruption. Lutepo, Kalonga, and others would be hanged if it were in China. Peter thinks the Chinese tolerate corruption. He has beat part of corruption. His brother Bingu stole billions of kwachas. We should not for that Peter lied that he had US$8 million. Malawi will bleed to death.

  14. mdk says:

    Don’t fool yourselves ,China in trouble?let’s just say they are going through a troubled pereiod but not exactly saying they are in trouble.troubled period because they are not doing as they have been doing.every economy goes through that.they are still the second best economy in the world today.tisazipusitse,the whole world is looking that direction and when it shakes the whole world does the same

  15. Mulangizi Wa Pulezidenti Paza Old Age Orgasm says:

    When a Malawian president starts looking east for help, dziwani kuti economy yaning’a.

    A wa Mutharika tulani pansi, even orgasm ikavuta umangochokapo mukadzikakamiza, mungogwapo ndi chizungulire apa – ndithu!

  16. Trevor Manyi says:

    Fodya eti

  17. Mulukhu says:

    Yes its good move but thing twice before a step bcoz these Chinese r also clever than mizukwayi.

  18. The real ujeni says:

    Where were you all this time bwana president, sleeping? China so far has helped to transform our neighbours both infrastructure wise and economically while you waste time fighting Joyce Banda.

  19. Nanchidwe says:

    This man is an idiot. Chinese economy is shifting from manufacturing and exports to services sector, so their need for commodities such as oil, coal and other minerals is shrinking. Hence the slow down in their economic growth and devaluation of their currency. So what is this fool going to sell China in exchange for their aid, his stupidity and gayism? Stay home you fool and save the little forex we have. Recover money from cashgate looters an put it to good use- invest in infrustrure such as roads, energy and fertilizer production and key social sectors health and education. This is what will keep malawi going. Bwampini, you are hopeless!!!!

  20. BigMan says:

    Malawians, so negative and pessimistic about everything. The President is wooing investors regardless of where they are from, just last week he was meeting British investors, now he is going to China. Where’s the problem?

  21. Jimbo says:

    The Malawi Kwacha has plummeted against the GB Pound and the US $ today – 852.394 MWK = £1 and 562.136MWK = $1. Does Malawi need loans from China or aid from Europe and the West? Has dealings with China and Russian helped Zimbabwe? Will China fund medicines for hospitals and educational materials? Is China concerned about the plight of desperately poor Malawians? How would APM answer these questions?

  22. Jimbo says:

    Looking at the above comments most are against forging links with China for obvious reasons. Does Malawi need long term loans with the Chinese? Does Malawi need a friend (China) that doesn’t care about human rights? Europe and the West want to see Malawi clean up its act and rid itself of corruption and the abuse of human rights. What is wrong with that? China is only interested in what it can get for itself from any dealings with African countries. Does APM have the good of Malawi at heart when he courts friendship with China? Getting back on good terms with Europe and the West will mean AID and NOT loans. Perhaps the conclusion of all this is that APM is not interested in sorting out the corruption etc. in Malawi politics because he knows what every other Malawian knows – that he and his government are fully involved in the corruption and cashgate and he fully intends to make the most of his time in office as President.

  23. Anti Orange says:

    The Chinese only lend money to build infrastructure in Malawi, then take that money back to China to buy the materials and employ labourers. All Malawi gets from the deal are poorly built structures and increasing debts.

  24. Lovemaniac 91 says:

    No work done, mbava izi! APM must stop smoking getu’s underwear, coz he is running out of brain this cow! Kuthawa west, who is to blame u cows?

  25. ALOSWEA says:

    APM ulendo wabwino let’s move from being poorest country ,we should book a place somewhere ,there problems in Malawi eeish salary gaps ‘k20,000 80% of the Nation ,poverty can not reduce,A President ntchito ilopo ,valani zilimbe

  26. Tingo says:

    U guys u don’t like visionary leaders economy is no longer in west these counries they are feeling the heat look at Greece, looking east i’ts not only mean china, failure to acknowledge other peoples achievement yet u to claim to know better than others. Asian countries has manage to lift up African economy look at Angola, Kenya eathiopia

  27. Telling the Truth says:

    China is a dictatorship. Any Malawian who cherishes freedom, accountability, transparency and democracy cannot cherish friendship with China. Refugees are flocking to Western Europe and not China and Russia because they know that China and Russia are dictatorships.

  28. Bob says:

    Go east and come back through the west. The world is li like a globe.

  29. Sapitwa says:

    Though Chinese economy is in jittery, they haven’t changed their policy on Africa and therefore there is no good reason to stop APM going there.
    There are many many opportunities for an investor in this good country and if China and Russia see such opportunities why not strike deals with them?

  30. nachisale says:

    Great to look East. The so-called good West takes more from Malawi and Africa than it gives us in aid. The 2013 Africa Report notes how western companies plunders Africa`s resources through fraudulent contracts and gives us less aid. We have been brainwashed to believe the West is a saint. How much have gotten from Kayerekera? Some will say oud government was corrupt in negotiating the deal which is half true because if Bingu had been hard on Paladin interms of Kayerekera uranium mining contract, aid would have been cut. Open your eyes. China is good for Africa!

  31. mjiba says:

    President mutharika did not go to SADC meet in Botswana citing cost cutting measures but he thinks flying to china will assist his country economically? this is a trip more for personal benefit than national do not fool us

  32. Maliroagonepati says:

    Anyone who follows world news knows that the Chinese economy is in deep trouble at the moment. Analysts expect China to reduce its involvement in Africa as a result. Already the South African Rand is at an all time low against the US$, the Zambian Kwacha as well has dropped in value due to significant Chinese involvement in the Zambian mining sector.

    Therefore APM’s looking east policy is doomed before implementation has even started. Just like his brother before him, APM will find that he really has no choice but to improve his ties with the West. Observing human rights and prudent use of public funds is primarily in Malawi’s interests. Even on gay rights, our closest neighbour, Mozambique has decriminalized the practice – and the sky has not fallen in Mozambique.

    Looking East did not work for Mugabe; it will not work for APM. Mugabe is now calling for Western investment in his country after more than a decade of demonizing the West.

  33. Do the Chinese feel happy with thieves who stole 90bilions you are jocking, no one is happy with thieves so don’t waste time chines are more clever than the west

  34. commentator says:

    The West give us free grants, subtly impose their values – most of them positive, I dare say – and loans through their IMF/World Bank. The East give us loans and no values, but they want a free pass for all manner of illicit conduct. This look East sleep walking will land us in serious trouble.

  35. Denguzman says:

    All the best APM.. Ifetu umphawi ndiye wanyanya mudziko muno coz bomali likuyenda ngati munthu walowa mnyumba ya rent koma ukulephera kulipilira ndrama ya rent uku ukuyembekezera tsiku limene eni ake anyumba adzakuuze mau oti tulukani mnyumba mwathu.

  36. Willie Chimseu says:

    Nice journey mr president. I wish u well as u will be advancing the interests of malawian in China.

  37. a president aganiza bwino chifukwa azunguwa akuyerekedwa, munthu akakumana umakayesa wina,

  38. getu maseko says:

    Inde a APM kuli bwino kulowela ku east after all ndalama za ku east ndie sizivuta kuba poti ngati ku china kulibe democracy nchifukwa chake anthu ngati Mugabe akuyang’ananso kumeneku. Komano chonvetsa chisoni nchakuti ndalama za ku east zimangathela m’matumba mwa atsogoleli,BEAM ikafunanso ndalama ikhoza kutapa kumeneku nzophweka kusiyana ndi za Globe Aid (NAC) munatenga zija

  39. ... says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I have never heard of a country that received forex from China.
    Chinese aid doesn’t bring the much needed forex in tye contry. Chinese policy is build structures in African countries in exchange of the little hard earned forex from, in the case of Malawi, tobacco sale, cotton sale, pigeon pee for example.

    The West is the solution, beacuse the West’s policy is about bringing Forex in African countries not buildings.

    Malawian are poorer than ever before. With one thousand kwacha, you can’t buy 2 packets of sugars mister president.

    And we are tired of seeing chinese immigrants in our remote areas doing businesses done by malawians like opening a restaurant to cook nsima.

  40. SENGABAY says:

    To corruptly sell the minerals found by the airborne geographical miniral survey which Msaka has failed to tell the nation for fear of being followed on their corruption bussiness… Without accountablity leadership is forced on people not embranced by people

  41. kabotolokamo says:

    Really …… oh boy ! what a waste of time.

  42. Truck says:


  43. truth says:

    Very bad decision. China’ economy is not stable at the moment and yet Malawi follow that road, shame

  44. nyakwawa nganga says:

    Thanks Mr president that’s gud idea

  45. Poor Peoples Voice says:

    Thanks Peter Arthur Mutharika. May you please negotiate for the following projects NATIONAL REFERRAL HOSPITAL ???? which Bingu wa MUTHARIKA started and we have to turn ZOMBA State House ???? for that purpose. Senior staff houses about 100, Middle staff houses about 150 and 300 junior staff houses to be built in Zomba. A shopping ???? complex. Blantyre requires a new stadium with 80,000 sitting capacity. 200 senior houses, 200 middle level houses and 400 junior staff houses. Malawi University of Science and Technology requires a shopping ???? complex for an active population of 200 people, Cancer ♋ Centre, 90 junior staff houses, 70 middle level staff houses, 60 senior management staff houses, a senior common rooms, advanced laboratory facilities and a nature reserve. Mzuzu university ???? requires infrastructure development. Cancer ♋ centre and development of Mzuzu Central Hospital ???? and Mombera University

  46. Mukharapwiyj says:

    Honestly speaking this guy don’t know diplomacy.don’t know who calls the shots.China have no big impact on the World Bank/IMF but the US,UK,Germany,EU.These are the ones to befriemd not the Russians,Chinese who only looks for any friend whether mad,less intelligent etc.ask Mugabe about this looking to the east policy and u’ll get a good understanding China looks for an open market and cares less about pollution,hunger,disease,poverty etc.wake up man

  47. Khuth'upa o'Machemba says:

    Have a good trip, Mr President.
    And please, ask China to take over the funding of the much interrupted construction of that all important Zomba-Jali-Phalombe-Chitakale Road. That road would have been completed by now if it had been originally funded by China. Siamasela (they do not fool around!)
    Phalombeans are agitating. Minister Chaponda, and Akweni Kaliati, and even the BigMan Muli: please, please urge APM to expedite this project. The DPP support in this area should not be taken for granted. The current road, in its incomplete and deteriorating condition, is a constant reminder of neglect by this government. Bingu would NEVER have let his people down like this.

  48. Makwasa says:

    Where is this fool headed to now???? The world economy is on edge right now because China’s currency took a tumble. You mean non of his economic advisors could tell him this ?So they just let Mathanyua go and look a fool asking for economic bail out from ailing China?….. Really……..”.dzuka Malawi Dzuka nkale lija unayamba kugona tulo”

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