Leaders of all Scotland’s political parties were dressed in Malawian Chitenjes and shirts, to celebrate the fact there are now 1,000 Scottish organisations with civic links to Malawi, spread across every single constituency of the Scottish Parliament.
The political leaders met organisations in their constituency that are linked with Malawi and were dressed by friends in the Malawian diaspora after new report details over 1,000 schools, churches, charities, businesses, individuals, universities and community groups who all have links with Malawi.
Scotland’s International Development Minister, Dr Alasdair Allan, was joined by each of the four party leaders –Ruth Davidson (Conservative), Kezia Dugdale(Labour), Willie Rennie (Liberal Dems) and Patrick Harvie (Greens)- to launch the report.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am very proud of the links that exist between Scotland and Malawi and want these to be strengthened still further.
“As First Minister I was honoured to host His Excellency Mr Kena Mphonda, the Malawian High Commissioner, in November last year to celebrate 10 years of governmental links, links which were forged in the over 150 years that the people of Scotland and Malawi have worked closely together to help alleviate poverty.
“This report, produced by the Scottish Government-funded Scotland Malawi Partnership, shows the depth of the enduring relationship we enjoy, with links to Malawi from communities in every part of Scotland.”
Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson said the links between Scotland and Malawi are “deep, enduring and worthy of celebration.”
She said: “At heart, this is about friendship. Not just between governments, but between two peoples. Each year thousands of Scots and Malawians stand side-by-side and work together to achieve common goals.
“We should be proud of these bonds and I congratulate the Scotland Malawi Partnership for everything they do to further this cause.”
Scottish Labour Party leader, Kezia Dugdale noted that Scotland’s strong relationship with Malawi has continued to grow over the past two centurie.
“The increasing number of Scots actively involved in links with Malawi through our schools and universities through to charities, hospitals and local businesses shows the kindness at the heart of the Scottish character.
“They should all be incredibly proud in creating one of the strongest bilateral relationships in the world. I look forward to working alongside you all as that relationship continues to grow.”
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party Willie Renniesaid :“Through education, communication and engagement we are forging a lasting relationship with this fascinating and creative country at the heart of Africa.
“Together Scotland and Malawi can grow and prosper together. I am particularly pleased to see the deep links with schools in my constituency including my old primary school of Strathmiglo.”
Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie pointed out that almost every section of Scottish civic life is now involved with Malawi in some way, with record numbers of community groups, schools, universities and hospitals actively engaged.
“This represents the best of Scottish internationalism, which will contribute to sustainable development and to global challenges such as equality and human rights..”
The University of Edinburgh estimates that there are over 94,000 Scots involved in links with Malawi. This is a bilateral friendship which started 157 years ago, with the travels of Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone.
These civic links benefit more than 300,000 Scots and 4 million Malawians a year. 46% of Scots, almost half the country, can name a friend or family engaged in a civic link with Malawi, making this one of the world’s strongest north-south people-to-people relationships.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :