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Over 500 investors from 29 countries across the globe met in Lilongwe, Monday, June 11, 2018 to discuss possible investment deals during the third Malawi Investment Forum (MIF). 

The Forum is Malawi’s leading and most established gathering of international investment community, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information, strategies and knowledge on attracting foreign direct investment into the country.

COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya was part of the high-profile delegates who attended the two-day forum, officially opened by President Peter Mutharika.

Besides offering a knowledge-based platform with cutting edge information on the latest investment and trade opportunities in Malawi, the event serves as a unique platform to meet, network and exchange experiences, explore business opportunities and sign cooperation agreements and partnerships.

According to Trade and Industry authorities, 24 bankable projects were discussed under the Public-Private Partnership arrangement and 18 private sector projects were marketed during the two-day forum. Further, 70 local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were given an opportunity to exhibit their products at the event in a quest to help them find international markets for their products.

In his address, Ngwenya observed that investment and trade remain the cardinal undertakings for inclusive development of the COMESA region and Africa at large 

“Much is still to be done in terms of promoting and facilitating our trade and investment because Africa is looking for a more conducive area for investment attraction and business to create jobs and wealth,” Ngwenya said.

He cited infrastructure, ICT, industrialization, science and innovation, tourism, as some of the sectors that need more investment. The Secretary General further noted that limitations of the existing models of promoting economic growth through cross border and foreign direct investments do not embrace a multi sectoral and inter sectoral approach. 

“The projects being considered currently are not aligned to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy in that they are stand-alone projects without sectoral linkages that are a necessary condition for economic transformation and inclusive growth,” he noted.

He proposed that the energy projects should be designed to feed into the national grid as opposed to serving economic activities where they are located. This would be achieved by making investments that are, for example, linked to clusters of agro industries in the rural areas, which will provide jobs for the youth and reduce poverty.