Malawi has been left out on the list of African countries invited to the 2014 Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai taking place next month.
The Forum is a platform that has been billed as important for African countries’ investment opportunities.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently announced the list of the African leaders invited to the forum but Malawi’s Arthur Peter Mutharika was not among those on the invited.
So far, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry five African presidents, including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Armando Guebuza of Mozambique; three prime ministers and more than seven ministers have confirmed their attendance.
In an interview Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi confirmed that Malawi has not been invited and will not attend the forum.
He, however, said the development was not of a major concern since Malawi will have a trade mission in Dubai in November which has been packaged to be as effective as possible.
“We believe that we cannot just be attending each and every forum for the sake of it. The trade mission to Dubai is being organized jointly between government and the private sector. We believe the mission will yield a lot of results,” said Nkombezi.
He said Malawi has benefited a lot during previous trade missions and forums. Nkombezi said that some of the investments that are in the country, including telecommunications, and agriculture are a result of the platforms.
“But the investors being what they are take time to assess the opportunities and, therefore, results may not be immediate,” he added.
Malawi has in the past been urged to use every opportunity available to attract as much investment as possible to create employment, prompt economic growth and development and reduce poverty.
Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) public relations manager Deliby Chimbalu has since said that during the Malawi-United Arab Emirate (UEA) mission, the country will sign two trade agreements-a double taxation agreement (DTA) and an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA).
“This will be apart from exhibiting opportunities in trade and investment that are available in Malawi,” she said.
Although, government is wearing a brave face on the development commentators have said it is worrying since Malawi is already underperforming in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) 2014 Investment Report, Malawi’s 2013 FDI is far below what its neighbours attracted with Mozambique having raked in about $5.9 billion, Zambia $1.8 billion while Tanzania attracted $1.9 billion.
In 2013 the country only managed to attract about $118 million approximately 10 percent lower than the 2012 $129 million. This has been attributed to poor business environment and lack of focus.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :