Pres. Banda beckons investors at UK-Malawi trade and investment forum

Malawi is “open for business” and  is attracting investors, this is the message President Dr Joyce Banda made on Wednesday in her address at the start of the UK-Malawi Trade and Investment Forum, at Draper Hall in London.

President Banda told British investors that Malawi presents great investment opportunity because firstly, as a former British colony, business and government culture is modelled on British tradition.

“English is the country’s official language. The legal system is based on English Common Law and Malawi’s educational system mirrors that of the United Kingdom’s. Malawi is a democratic and peaceful country with a history of political stability since its independence,” she said.

The President said at the venue which was fully packed that in tourism, Malawi is referred to as “The Warm Heart of Africa”, not only because of its temperate sub-tropical climate but also because of the warmth and friendliness of her people, the safety of the country and the many breathtaking tourist attractions.

President Banda: Malaiw is open for business
President Banda: Malaiw is open for business

“The country is founded on strong tenets of constitutionalism and rule of law.  The smooth transition of power over the years attests to this,” she said.

The President also informed the British Investors that Malawi is a liberalized free-market economy with preferential market access to regional and international markets under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern Africa Development Community, the European Union Cotonou Agreement and the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act of the United States of America.

“Malawi also enjoys a number of bilateral agreements that support trade and investment. Investing in Malawi would, therefore, not only target the local market but also regional and international markets,” she said.

The President reiterated that she assumed leadership of the country the nation had pressing political and economic governance challenges that needed urgent attention and immediately embarked on political and economic reforms in order to stabilise the country.

Said President Banda: “My Government instituted monetary and fiscal policies to stabilise the economy. We also introduced austerity measures to cut on waste and promote prudent fiscal management. My Government launched the Economic Recovery Plan as an economic road map intended to stabilize the economy and create a transformative framework for sustainable growth.

“In this regard, the Economic Recovery Plan identified five priority sectors, namely, agriculture, tourism, mining, energy, and infrastructure development including information and communication technology”.

President Banda noted that in order to facilitate the development of and to regulate the implementation of public private partnerships, the government has enacted a Public Private Partnership Act and has created a one -stop -shop for investors.

The President explained: “Under this new infrastructure, Malawi intends to ease the procedures and create incentives for investors, by among other things, guaranteeing the issuing of business license to qualified businesses in the shortest time possible and harmonise the granting of permits and incentives.

“Our goal is to take Malawi into the top 100 countries of World Bank Doing Business rankings in the next two years. And the government is committed to turning Malawi around from being an aid dependent to being a vibrant trading and investment nation”.

The President explained that the Investment Forum could not have taken place at a better time than now and that it could also not have been held in a better country than the United Kingdom, a centre of commerce and investment; a country with which Malawi enjoys excellent relations and a key development partner.

SPresident Banda also commended the Developing Markets Associates (DMA), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and allr sponsors who  helped to make the Investment Forum possible.

At the Investment Forum, Malawi is being represented by Members of the Private Sector, including the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI).

Other prominent participants at the Forum included MAtam  Sandhu, Chief Executive, Developing Markets Associates; David Mundell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Office of Scotland; Sosten Gwengwe, MP, Malawi Minister of Industry and Trade; Henry Bellingham, MP, former British Minister for State for Africa; Lord Steel of Aikwood, President, the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group; and Richard Dowden, Director, royal African Society, among others.

Press Corporation CEO Dr Mathews Chikaonda and Standard Bank CEO Charles Mudiwa also attended the event.

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