National Planning Commission (NPC) chief executive officer, Dr. Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, says plans have reached an advanced stage to turn Liwonde into the status of a secondary city to boost economic opportunities at the trading centre.
Munthali stressed that the creation of a secondary city at Liwonde will also help control migration of people from districts to the country’s major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu in search of economic opportunities.
NPC was established to identify Malawi’s social economic development priorities and formulate national vision and strategy for social and economic goals, taking into account the country’s resource potential and comparative advantage.
The Commission oversees the implementation of long term national vision and strategies, and medium term development plans. It will also spearhead the formulation of innovative and progressive flagship Projects in line with the National Vision.
And speaking on the sidelines of the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPP Commission) conference underway in Lilongwe, Munthali said NPC is currently mapping the country into potential investment zones.
“Already, we are looking at seven and Liwonde is one of them because Liwonde is a confluence of a number of investment areas. We have a rail passing through there, a road going through it, a waterway and there is good arable land. So, we are saying we can develop that into a secondary city where we have industrial hubs booming, tourism cenetre booming, even some mining activiteies taking place,” said the NPC chief.
“The whole is that, as NPC, we should promote secondary cities developing across the country so that we don’t have people just coming to Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and create all these slums. So, basically that is what we are looking at Liwonde. But we will be developing the others alongside Liwonde as part of the secondary city creation,” Munthali added.
He said the Commission is currently zoning the districts to identify potential investment areas by taking into account the resource endowments in those areas.
“And then we will create bankable investments and that is why we came to partner with the PPP Commission because we want to push for public private partnerships so that once we hav those projects, we are likely going to have indications on what will happen in those areas. We are excited that Malawi Agriculture Investment and Industrial Cooperation is keen to work with us because once we have those plans, we will be able to operationalize with resources,” said Munthali.