JB cancels trip to Brussels over Malawi travel ban: Going to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait sponsored trip

In line with economic austerity measures announced recently by the Malawi Government, President Joyce Banda will not fulfil a scheduled trip to Brussels, Belgium where she was invited to be among many leaders attending the European Development Days Summit from November 26 to 27, 2013, Nyasa Times understands.

However, the President will proceed to leave Malawi Saturday November 16, 2013 through Chileka Airport on a four-day official visit to Abu Dhabi and Kuwait to attend the Global Development Agenda Summit and the Arab-Africa Summit, respectively.

Malawi has instituted a travel ban on all administration officials, including President Banda as  a cost-cutting measure.

According to the Presidential Press Secretary Steven Nhlane, the President and her entourage will travel to Abu Dhabi and Kuwait as the trip is fully funded by the organizers.

President Banda sponsored for her Kuwait travel bill, cancels Belgium trip

“Everything is catered for by the organizers; from air tickets, ground transport, food, allowances and accommodation. No penny will be drawn from the Malawi Government for the purpose of this trip.

“Her Excellency (President Banda) is more than committed to ensuring that the conditions set by her Government to reduce expenditure are adhered to,” Nhlane told Nyasa Times in a Skype video interview from the Capital, Lilongwe.

Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira also said President Banda’s travel was privately funded.

“She is being sponsored, [and] they are paying for her fares and upkeep. So, we are not really losing much in that respect,” Mpinganjira said.

Global Development Agenda Summit

In Abu Dhabi, President Banda will attend the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Development Agenda, the world’s largest brainstorming event which brings together the most relevant thought leaders of the WEF’s Network of Global Agenda Councils.

The Councils – comprising of more than 80 groups of experts from academia, business, civil society, international organisations and government – work to advance knowledge and collaboratively explore important issues shaping global, industry and regional agendas.

As a member of the Global Agenda Council on Poverty and Sustainable Development, President Banda will share her views on the priorities and challenges of the post-2015 agenda.

She will discuss potential gaps, issues or activities that the Global Agenda Council’s and the WEF could most usefully take on to support a successful post-2015 agenda outcome, according to the Press Secretary.

Arab-Africa Summit

President Banda will then join more than 65 leaders for the third Arab-Africa Summit, to be hosted by Kuwait from 19-20 November. The Summit aims to bolster Afro-Arab cooperation.

The year’s summit will focus on, ‘Partners in Development and Investment’ and aims to solidify Afro-Arab cooperation in politics, the economy, investments and partnerships, agricultural development, food, commercial exchange, infrastructure and immigration.

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