President Peter Mutharika has called on Malawians in diaspora to be patriotic by promoting a positive image of their home country as one way of luring investors to Malawi.
President Mutharika made the call recently at Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York when he met with members of the Malawian community living in the United States of America.
“Think positively about your nation. Do not be misled by the negative news you hear through social media from home.
“When you promote the negative image of your country, you are not hurting me or the government, you are hurting the country by scaring away investors,” Mutharika said.
He further said it is high time Malawians spoke positively about their country, the potential it has to solve and overcome the challenges it is facing.
President Mutharika added that people in diaspora have a crucial role to play in the development of their home countries, citing countries like India and China which traces their economic resuscitation and growth to investments coming from their nationals living abroad,
Closer home in Africa, President Mutharika pointed at Ethiopia which is constructing the Grand Renaissance Dam worth US$5 billion largely from own revenues through bonds with US$1 billion coming from nationals in diaspora.
With Malawi carrying out several reforms in its public sector, the President believes the country is making itself an attractive destination for investment for both local and international investors.
High on the list is the land reforms which he said have eased procedures of accessing land.
“It is becoming a little easier now to acquire land. If you want to put up a house, a hotel or infrastructure, you are welcome to do that,” Mutharika said.
During the interface, the president also highlighted progress in a number of key sectors like construction of roads in urban and rural areas, the unbundling of University of Malawi and rural electrification through hydro and solar power.
With the inflation rate decreasing from 24.3 percent in 2014 to 9.3 percent last month, the economy shows significant progress because it’s for the first time since 2010, inflation rate to hit a single digit, according to Mutharika.
The country’s import cover is now stretched to five months with reserves amounting US$1 billion in both official and private reserves compared to 2014 when the country had one month import cover, the president said.
Before the president’s address, members of the Malawian community in USA cited some challenges they face in terms of sending resources for investment to Malawi as well as delay in processing passports.
“The cost of conducting services through banks in Malawi is high. Malawian banks make unrealistic profits by charging internet fee when you are sending money back home yet here in USA there is no such a fee,” said Priscilla Ali, one of the Malawians in USA.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano said government is already engaging Malawian banks on how best they can help Malawians abroad in sending their resources back home.
Representative from the Reserve Bank of Malawi, FDH Bank and New Finance Bank (NFB) were present at the meeting to discuss the same.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :