Malawi open for business: JB makes her case at Dubai World Energy Forum

President Mrs. Joyce Banda has told the Dubai World Energy Forum (WEF) which kicked off Monday at the Dubai World Trade Centre that Malawi is “open for business” and that is attracting investors.

The three-day event is held to boost the international cooperation and exchange of expertise to ensure safe and clean sustainable energy, which would achieve economic and social welfare for the people.

Making her case to the WEF, President Banda said she has set the goal for Malawi to be in the top 100 countries for Ease of Doing Business in the next 5 years.

“We are in the process of rolling out a series of reforms that will make the procedures for investment easy and will provide attractive incentives for investors,” she said.

President Joyce Banda in Dubai 22nd October 2012 008 speaking to a local TV. -Photo Mana

“My Government has shown our willingness to make bold reforms for macroeconomic stability and has also demonstrated that we are a government with clear plans and a focus on delivery. I therefore say to this forum that Malawi is open for business.  On our part, we are ready,” said President Banda.

Green economy

She said her government will make provisions for attainment of sustainable development and low carbon development which, if implemented in an integrated manner, would ably transform Malawi into a green economy that would boast of, among others, having accessible, reliable and sustainable energy supply as well as rural communities using alternative energy supplies in underserved areas while managing energy related environmental impacts.

Banda said as an African Woman Leader, she want to look at the energy challenges “through the eyes of women because I relate to their issues, and I relate to the challenges that deficits in energy sources places on them.”

“In Malawi for example, close to 90 percent of the energy used is biomass and in almost all cases women are responsible for collecting the firewood,” she said.

She also said Malawi needs a faster shift in the mix of energy the country use to ensure they are sustainable.

“This involves creating alternatives to fuel wood that makes up 90% of the total energy utilized in Malawi today. It involves finding alternatives to hydropower such as solar, wind, thermal and geo-thermal for electricity generation given that in Malawi 98% of our hydropower is cascaded on one river.  It also involves expanding our production of 18 million liters of ethanol for blending with petrol and our planned 5 million liters of Jatropha oil by 2015 for blending with diesel.”

Economic growth

Banda said her government knows that Malawi must leverage private investment, including foreign direct investment and public private partnerships in the energy sector.

“I have laid out this in my vision for Malawi’s economic future which is to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation,” she said.

President Banda also maintained that Malawi is not on a path of incremental growth, “but on a path to transformational growth.”

She said “our need for sustainable energy is the fuel for our aspirations, and we are ready to seize the opportunities here for partnership and collaboration.”

Meeting with UAE minister

Meanwhile, the President also met Reem Al-Hashimy, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the sidelines of the World Energy Forum, and discussed various issues of mutual benefit between Malawi and the UAE.

According to President Banda’s Press Officer, Tusekele Mwanyongo, the UAE minister has pledged to work closely with President Banda, particularly in helping Malawi achieve the objectives of the Presidential Initiatives on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood and Hunger and Poverty Eradication.

“The Minister was extremely excited at meeting Her Excellency, whom she called a ‘phenomenal woman. She pledged to visit Malawi soon to explore areas that the UAE Government can assist Malawi,” said Mwanyongo.

Al-Hashimy also manages the External Affairs Unit of The Executive Office (TEO) of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, U.A.E. Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The President also met various potential investors from the region interested in the energy sector as well other infrastructure. They included Board Member of the Kuwaiti National Chemical & Petroleum Industries; Terek Eissa, President of the Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting Co; and Brian Wilkie, Chairman of Gulf for Good, a non-profit organization that help disadvantaged children.

Malawi’s Banda making a speech at the Dubai World Trade Centre.-Photo credit State House
Malawi President Joyce Banda resident confers with Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina.-Photo credit State House

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