President Arthur Peter Mutharika has described his trip to 2018 BRICS Summit as beneficial to Malawi’s infrastructural development.
BRICS – an economic bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Summit ended at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Friday evening.
The three-day summit brought together leaders who represent 40% of the world’s population and 22% of the world’s GDP.
Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Mutharika said BRICS has a New Development Bank (NDB) and has specifically put aside US$34 billion for infrastructure development in African countries.
“There is a possibility of getting a loan from the US$34 billion for infrastructure development, for instance, in the areas of energy sector, among other areas,” he said.
Mutharika said next week Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and other responsible ministers will be working on a proposal that can enable Malawi to tap in the US$34 billion pool.
Malawi and other non-member African countries were invited to the summit for a BRICS-Africa Outreach Dialogue on Friday.
In his statement to the delegates, Mutharika said Malawi and other developing countries need economic blocs such as BRICS.
“We need [them] because economies work better as integrated systems. Humans are interdependent by nature. And in any system, every component is important,” he said.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries on the continent, and it sees the NDB as a potential way to leverage loans with lower concessional interest rates, and without the onerous conditionalities of the World Bank.
“South Africa has done well to bring African countries on board with regards to BRICS. Africa has a voice and South Africa must speak for us,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika said Africa must celebrate the rise of BRICS as an economic community that promotes South-South and North-South relationships.
“We must also commend the promotion of dialogue in this community because dialogue is the tie that binds us.
“Our countries are at varying levels of development. We need to be constantly engaged in a constructive dialogue in order to maintain common understanding on the challenges and opportunities before us,” Mutharika told the delegates.
Briefing the media Friday at the end of the summit, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa said it was not a mere talk show or forum where leaders talk about things that would not be implemented.
Ramaphosa said the outreach program is meant to broaden cooperation and solidarity among countries.
“We want to see a world that is operating on the basis of cooperation, win-win solutions being found, collaboration as well as solidarity so that whatever we do, we should strengthen and promote the lives of our people,” said Ramaphosa who chaired the summit.
To this effect, South Africa invited chairs of the African Union (AU), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), among other leaders.
This year’s summit was being held under the theme BRICS in Africa: collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
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