In his first engagement with the global investment community since taking office, President
Chakwera delivered a clear message that demonstrated his determination to bring Malawi out of poverty and his receptivity to foreign direct investment to benefit the economy and the people of Malawi, emphasizing the importance of the long-term trading relationship with South Africa, which he described as “Malawi’s most important regional partner”.
Chakwera made the remarks to webinar hosts Rob Hersov and Paul Hinks of Invest Africa, the world’s largest membership organization promoting investment into Africa.
Malawi, a country dependent mostly on agriculture, has in the past two decades experienced a decline in productivity. During the same period, brutal attacks and senseless murders at farms in South Africa have caused many farmers to search for new pastures. Unlike South Africa, Malawi dubbed ‘the warm heart of Africa’ because of the kindness of its people, has been recognized by the Global Peace Index as one of Africa’s most peaceful countries.
“South Africans are welcome to Malawi to invest in our soil.” Chakwera said in response to questions during the webinar. “They will work with us to help us get up from the bottom, a place where we have stayed too long,” he said.
Addressing potential investors more broadly, he said Malawi offers many opportunities to earn foreign exchange “Please get your financing and spend it here.”
Citing mining as a captivating suggestion for international investors, pointing to a recent geological mapping project by an international consortium which concluded that Malawi is rich in mineral resources, including uranium, bauxite, iron ore, alluvial gold, coal, graphite, gemstones and various rare earth metals.
The mining sector has been overlooked and underdeveloped, the president said. The establishment of a new Ministry of Mines signals to investors that they are welcome and that licenses for hitherto unexploited resources can be issued to qualified and experienced extractive industry investors.
Like many Africans, Malawians have been deprived of reliable electricity. Without real development on this front, the gap between generation capacity and the demand for electricity will continue to worsen an already overstrained system. Chakwera recognizes that his predictions of an economic rebirth can only be realized if there is sufficient electricity available to drive growth.
Between 2013 and 2018, the U.S. government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, funded a $350 million Power Reform Project to support sector reforms and large-scale infrastructure investments. “The Millennium Challenge Account helped us a lot,” Chakwera said, and – as a result – “investors are welcome to visit and explore possibilities for clean energy using wind, solar and hydropower and we want to create public private partnerships.”
Malawi is considered one of the continent’s most beautiful and magnificent countries, accommodating a broad range of flora and fauna. The country takes pride in the gigantic Lake Malawi (29,000 square kilometers) – an aquatic paradise bordering three countries that plays host to over 1,000 species of vibrant and dazzling cichlid fish, many of which are found in aquarium’s all over the world.
“All along our lake there are places to develop tourism destinations,” Chakwera told webinar participants. “We need investors for new hotels and lodges and between these sites we need lake transportation services and game viewing. I invite you to come and see the beauty of the lake, which stretches almost across the entire length of the country.”
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News