Commonwealth offers Malawi opportunity for deeper collaboration

Commonwealth Secretary General, Karmalesh Sharma, says his organization was eager to engage Malawi in new areas of cooperation in election management, education and management of natural resources.

Sharma was speaking in London after meeting President Joyce Banda where the two leaders discussed various possible areas of cooperation between Malawi and the Commonwealth.

“The meeting with President Banda accorded us an opportunity to discuss the areas of cooperation where the Commonwealth can be a partner with Malawi such as election, management of natural resources and education,” he said.

Commonwealth Secretary General met Malawi Presidentl in London. Pic by Lisa Vintulla.

The Commonwealth Secretary General added that in the coming weeks and months the organization and Malawi would have a more engaged programme to advance collaboration in the sectors that Malawi required assistance.

“We have agreed that the best way forward is to prioritize some of these areas of cooperation and see how the initiatives take off,” said Sharma.

He said the offer for deeper collaboration that the Commonwealth was making to Malawi was being made in full recognition of the challenges that Malawi was currently facing.

“The President briefed me on all the initiatives taken by her government and challenges for Malawi so that we have a proper context of the collaboration which is before us,” said Sharma.

According to the Commonwealth, Malawi is the only member of the 54 country membership who has the lowest income per capita.

The Commonwealth Secretary General also said his meeting with President Banda was also meant to thank her for accepting the invitation to honour Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth during her Diamond Jubilee celebration.

President Banda and other Commonwealth and world leaders are in the United Kingdom to take part in the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee making 60 years of her reign. The Queen ascended to the throne on February 6, and her Coronation took place on June 2, 1953.

The four day jubilee celebrations have been marked with various activities such as a televised Jubilee Concert at Buckingham which featured top world artists such as Elton John, Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder among others.

After the concert the leaders also witnessed lighting of the Diamond Jubilee Beacons led by the Queen whereby a network of over 4,000 beacons were by communities and individuals throughout the United Kingdom, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth.

Another Diamond Jubilee event was National Service of Thanksgiving that was held on Tuesday at St. Paul’s Cathedral and later a luncheon at Westminster Hall.

Apart from attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee events, the State President is also expected to fulfill a number of official engagements considering that her visit comes barely weeks after her government moved in to repair the worsening ties between Malawi and her major bilateral development partner, Britain.

Commonwealth delegation led by Secretary General Karmalesh Sharma had discussions with the State President Mrs Joyce Banda at Calaridge's Hotel in London. Pic by Lisa Vintulla/Mana

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