The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya on Monday briefly played the role of Malawi ambassador, telling prospective foreign investors attending the Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) in Lilongwe that “Malawi is an oasis of peace”.
There are about 130 foreign investors from 30 countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), China, USA, South Africa, Brazil and Kuwait, among others, attending Malawi’s first-ever investment forum, the biggest congregation of potential investors such as multinational organisations and entrepreneurs.
Directly addressing the investors, Ngwenya said: “To investors, I say, Malawi is an oasis of peace and I know investors want to invest where there is peace.”
Currently, Malawi ranks fifth in Africa on the Global Peace Index and the country also ranks 51st globally on the same, making it one of the safest places in the world.
Like other countries worldwide, Malawi seeks to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) which is key to creating new jobs, growing the economy and beefing up government revenue through payment of various taxes.
Ngwenya, who spoke highly about the potential of Malawi’s tourism sector, told President Peter Mutharika, who officially opened the forum, that Comesa will take a key role in selling Malawi’s compendium of projects packaged by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
He said: “I assure you that our Comesa Investment Agency based in Cairo has a successful story, [we] will be receiving the Malawi compendium of projects in electronic form and start promoting them to the rest of the world.
“In three months’ time, I will be able to come to you honourable President to say this is what I have done for you.”
Ngwenya also told investors that Malawi is placed within the newly launched Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), which, he said, has demographic dividends as it has a combined population of 625 million and a combined market size of $1.3 trillion.
“Investors will be looking for a big market size and also a region where you have consumption on daily basis,” added Ngwenya.
Supporting Ngwenya, Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba described Malawi as a stable country where investments are safe as it is a signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank.
The Mitc boss said Malawi has preferential market access in the region and outside Africa, citing the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), the European Union’s Everything But Arms (EBA) and other bilateral agreements.
In his remarks, Mutharika said his government will strive to provide security to foreign investors during his reign.