The European Union (EU) delegation says Malawi will represent developmental interests of both the country and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at the African Union (AU)-EU summit.
Heads of State or Government of the AU and the EU will hold a summit on February 17 and 18 in Brussels.
President Lazarus Chakwera will attend the summit with the host’s support and is expected to meet EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe yesterday, EU Ambassador Rune Skinnebach said Malawi as chair of Sadc, a body that receives EU financial support, needs to be a part of the conversation.
He noted that this is the first EU-AU summit in almost five years and that much has happened, including Covid-19, the Cabo Delgado crisis and the Zimbabwe sanctions .
Skinnebach said: “We see the presence of President Chakwera in Brussels as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the government’s more ambitious approach to foreign policy and to cement even further the excellent relationship Malawi and the EU are enjoying.
“Therefore, going to Brussels and building a case for continued support is critical for Malawi but needs to be done by also addressing the question of what is in it for Europeans.”
The envoy said the expectations from the summit are enormous, given challenges faced by continents including the Covid-19 pandemic which has shown the critical need to work together.
Skinnebach added that the summit will offer an opportunity for the two continents to jointly define the future with a joint vision.
On the political front, he said the EU has already committed 150 billion euros, a political move that takes the EU out of its tradition of donor beneficiary-luck which Malawi must take advantage of to address its development challenges.
The funds will, among others, involve initiatives such as security and stability, investments, education, health, multilateralism, migration and mobility, to be co-owned and implemented jointly with African partners in support of the strategic vision.
The envoy said 352 million euros that has just recently been approved for Malawi for the 2021/2024 period will help to address development challenges.