The Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam) has rated highly the recent Malawi Investment Forum (MIF), saying the platform has exposed local entrepreneurs to new business ideas and potential foreign financiers.
Speaking in an interview to assess the forum, Ibam President Mike Mlombwa said local businesses now have strong business links with the outside world following Malawi’s first ever forum.
Mlombwa’s Countrywide Group of Companies is one of the local firms that received a preliminary funding consideration during the forum for its projects to develop five-star hotels in the commercial capital Blantyre and Chintheche on the shores of Lake Malawi.
“The onus now is on us local businesses, of course in collaboration with government, to make follow ups and tap the resources that have been dangled before us from financiers such as Opic [Overseas Private Investment Corporation],”said Mlombwa.
Mlombwa said it was imperative for local entrepreneurs and government to sit down and draw a roadmap on how best to tap into the pledged foreign financing.
He said the outcome of the forum has proved beyond doubt that Malawi has a great potential to produce billionaires of Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote calibre.
Dangote’s net worth is estimated at over $18.6 billion (about K8.4 trillion), making him Africa’s richest person. He ranks 67th in the world.
Dangote’s K8.4 trillion is almost four times Malawi’s total wealth as measured by the nominal value of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at K2.2 trillion.
Mlombwa also reminded local businesses to ensure going into strong partnerships among themselves or with foreign companies which, he said, has proved to be useful world over.
“We have rich people in Africa but if you ask them, they will tell you that they have had government support. Here in Malawi, we also need government deliberate policies to grow our local businesses,” he added.
In his presentation on the overview of the economy during the opening of the forum, Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe encouraged local and foreign businesses to invest in the country of a favourable economic environment conducive for growing their respective business ventures.
According to a communiqué which was read out by Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade Cliff Chiunda, so far, three known investment deals have been known and quantified and offer Malawi $1.1 billion (over K500 billion) in potential investment.