Malawi Diaspora key for Tonse govt unlocking of foreign direct investment

As the Tonse government begin its reign to usher Malawi to new levels of development, one area that is geared to push fulfilment of the popular manifesto pledge of 1 million jobs is the potential influx of foreign direct investments.

Chalo: Diaspora community can push for FDI

Malawi has struggled to attract investors in the past five years, a situation which has had a hit of the country’s economy. The diaspora Malawians whose role in Malawi economy has mainly been in their remittance have been identified as a key group in unlocking trade and investment for Malawi.

According to Chalo Mvula, a UK-based Malawian FDI expert, who is also the spokesperson of Malawi Congress Party Diaspora Wing, the  onse alliance government has its work of attracting investors cut out as it has a lot of active people in the diaspora who will play an instrumental role in the government endeavours.

“We are talking of a huge network of Malawians in diaspora, well-educated and possessing a variety of skills who are focused on seeing Malawi develop,” he pointed out.

A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment made by a firm or individual in one country into business interests located in another country. The current state of Malawi FDI leaves a lot to be desired despite government efforts to attract more investors.

Malawi remains one of the world’s poorest countries. GDP growth fell from 7.8% in 2019 to 6.4% in 2019, according to the World Bank. The organisation’s data also shows headline inflation has continued in single digit standing at 9.3% in July 2019 compared to 9.0% in July 2018.  FDI plummeting from $598m in 2017 to $112m in 2019.

Malawi has also faced problems of its own making such as the rampant levels of corruption and government failure to tackle the problem head on which has been a deterrent for potential investors.

Mvula suggests, the involvement of the diaspora is the key catalyst that can bypass several hurdles to get investors flowing in Malawi again.

“Firstly let’s not ignore the fact that those in diaspora themselves are potential investors, so we have a group of people who can provide the investment but also  help attract other investors.”

He argues that Tonse government need to quickly realise  that above the well-known role as senders of remittances, Malawians in the diasporas can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship, as well as  transferring of  new knowledge and skills.

The Diaspora facilitates acquisition and exchange of technical knowhow, market information and physical capital, and should there be considered as social capital.

Malawi boasts several opportunities for FDI with Agriculture and tourism being on top of the list.

“We have the land for agriculture and all we need is to diversify the crops, create added value while promoting use of proper machinery and irrigation, and we can see agribusiness both countering droughts and rewarding investors,” added Mvula.

Mvula believes Malawians in diaspora have connections with potential investors using their networks.

He argues that some Malawians have lived abroad long enough to establish business relationships with would be potential investors and Tonse government would benefit tapping into this advantage.

Mvula  said the government should  have the diaspora in their plans as they already act as brand ambassadors for Malawi  and  called on Ministers to identify the goals that need to be achieved, map out the location and skills of those in diaspora, work on fostering  a relationship of trust, maintaining sophisticated means of communication with the diaspora, and more importantly  encouraging diaspora contributions to national development.

Malawi provides good conditions for the enablement of FDI attraction. The country has been one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. The government has tried putting incentives that are tailored to every potential investor.

Malawi has also improved its standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, jumping from position 133 in 2016 to 109 in 2020.

Among other areas of potential investments are the natural resources with Malawi having large uranium and coal deposits. There is also Lake Malawi which hasn’t been explored fully of its potential for minerals. The country also provides great opportunities for investment in ICT due to the growing use of mobile and internet services.

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1 year ago

Malawians in diaspora can come and invest if the government approves the dual citizenship which the tonse alliance was promising.

Malawi belong to the citizens

Chavula you are right, Malawi needs more machinery to start processing it’s products.We know most people believe in office work, remember more work is the manufacturing industries, food , processing,infrastructure construction.Roads construction,tourism industry,mining industry just to mention a few but all these needs machinery,which are found in other countries around the world.

Mwini muzi
1 year ago

Malawi has plenty challenges: poor road infrastructure, poor telecommunications, poor manpower with no adequate sophisticated experience besides many available candidates with degree qualifications, poor/inadequate energy from electricity grid etc. Many foriegn companies that invested in the past 4 years are on the brink of closing eg. Game, Food Lovers, Spar some Shoprite stores etc. This is all because the GDP is very low as you have indicated hence the low consumer base for products from these shops. You have mentioned coal and uranium deposits but the coal we have is of low specifications to qualify for export. Uranium alone without… Read more »

1 year ago

A Chavula mukufuna u press officer? Kuyimba munasiya.
Kukuwa yayo this MCP anthu aku mpoto are there just to be used .And you are one of them

1 year ago
Reply to  LIlian

Vutotu LA a Malawi ndi limenelo, olo munthu wayankhula zanzeru mumunyozabe basi. It’s like nyasatimes has got a lot of dandruff commentators.
How can we fight regionalism whilst you still referring someone’s comment to being from the north, South or Central. Mufuna lamulo LA a Ngwazi libwerenso loti aliyense onena uyu ngwakumpoto, azimangidwa. Koma pano mwina azipereka k500 ku boma chifukwa boma lufuna ndarama and litha kutolera kwa basi, komanso kuthetsa kusankhana mitundu.

1 year ago

.. ‘maintaining sophisticated means of communication with the diaspora….’! What does that mean? ….Anyway, keep writing. I will keep reading!

1 year ago

You are very stupid….I dont believe that after Chilima stereotyped pple who hv been abroad and called them ma tchona and that included Chakwera,Peter and Atupere during the first election.

Do not use us sorry

1 year ago
Reply to  Mbetuma

This is the only problem why Malawi is underdeveloped. Malawians are not united, we only focus on regionalism and tribalism instead of focusing on developing our country. For an example, if I come up with an idea of setting up a company which will create jobs for all Malawians regardless of what region or tribe they come from. Not everyone will be happy with you are doing.

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