Blair in Malawi, praises President Banda for critical reforms

Former British prime minister Tony Blair arrived in Malawi on Thursday and met President Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre where he praised one of only two female heads of state in Africa, for pulling her impoverished country back from the economic brink after a political crisis.

Blair, who heads the non-profit African Governance Initiative, landed in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre and headed directly to a meeting with President Banda .

The former British PM said he admires and respect President Banda on how she has set out her task and transformed Malawi  in a short time by taking critical reforms.

“There is sense of hope as President Banda will help uplift the lives of the people,” he said, adding “There is an enormous amount of hope and expectation. These are challenging times, difficult times of course.”

President Banda gives Blair a gift. Photo by Nyasa Times

Banda moved into the top job in April after the death of her erratic predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

Major donors such as Britain and the United States restarted aid programs following Banda’s accession.

The President applauded the cordial relationship between Malawi and Britain. She thanked the former British Prime Minister for the moral support rendered during the transition.

In their discussions, President Banda outlined Malawi’s vision under her leadership which is to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation.

The Malawi leader also said she is ommitted  to see Malawians enjoy their freedom, dignity and maximise their capacity to realise their social, political and economic  empowerment.

President Banda also outlined strategies that have been employed to realize the vision that include  putting in place an Economic Recovery Programme to deal with challenges of political and economic governance that her administration found in government.

The Malawi President outlined areas the former Prime Minister can be of help to the country such as to mobilise private and development finance to participate in fostering political, social and economic development in Malawi.

She also pointed out that Blair can help to mobilise transfer of skills, capital and technology from
rich nations to Malawi.

And that Blair can help to raise the business profile of the country as a favourable
investment destination.

On Friday morning, Blair will attend roundtable discussions with the southern African country’s Trade and Industry Ministry officials and those from the Malawi Confederation of Chambers Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) on the subject Investment in Africa.

Blair becomes the second high-profile official to visit Malawi after U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who set her foot on Malawi soil in early August.

President Banda welcomes Blair. Photo by Nyasa Times

President Banda gives Blair a gift. Photo by Nyasa Times

Blair addressing journalists with President Banda at Sanjika Palace. Photo Nyasa Times

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