K1.1 trn Afreximbank facility on track—RBM

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says the $1.4 billion (about K1.1 trillion) Afreximbank investment facility is registering implementation progress as further follow up Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with local firms were recently signed with some in the pipeline.

Earlier this year Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah visited the country and held a series of meetings with local private sector representatives. He also met President Peter Mutharika to announce the provision of the facility.

Kabambe: It involves a lot of work

The flagship projects in the facility include the Cape Maclear holiday resort, international airport, business parks, among others.

RBM governor Dalitso Kabambe said in an interview recently that the facility involves a lot of work but RBM, government and other stakeholders are working to expedite the processes between the ministries of lands, local government and respective councils who are sorting out the land issues for investments.

Said Kabambe: “We are registering quite exciting progress and just recently during the World Bank meetings we met again with Afreximbank president and his team, we shared notes on the update on what is coming out of the earlier audience with the President.

“I can confidently report that we are registering progress for the flagship projects for Mangochi, the Cape maclear project, the international airport, the industrial park, the logistics park and also the industrial parks for Blantyre and Mzuzu. So far at a country level we are finalising issues of securing land.”

According to the governor Afreximbank recently also sent a team that came for a 3D design for all the projects that are going to be developed and now they are arranging to bring in other teams that are going to do Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) and to do the feasibility studies and construction.

He said recently, RBM also received a delegation from Afreximbank that are partnering with Press Corporation to grow 40 000 hectares of cassava which they will process into starch as well as producing some by-products.

He added: “Illovo and Salima Sugar factories also finalised discussions for extra financing for the expansion of their operations and they will receive the financing towards the end of this year. Export Development Fund is also mobilising resources that will benefit small and medium enterprises in the country and their resources will be coming in the next two weeks.”

Press Agriculture Limited chief executive officer Morut Isyagi confirmed in an interview that there is progress being made with Afreximbank regarding planned investments.

He said the RBM, Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) as well as the Export Development Fund are championing the discussions to ensure success.

Isyagi explained that Press Agriculture would like to do more investments to regain its position in southern Africa, which will see partnerships with known manufacturers such as the Kelloggs company that manufacturers cornflakes among other products.

“Much as we are excited and ready about the investment facility, the company is cautious and studying the business climate and profitability of businesses and ability to repay the loans,” he said.

University of Malawi’s Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kaluwa said the projects, if implemented according to the plan, are bound to transform the country and bring in positive multiplier effects.

“We are looking at the jobs that the projects will create and the resultant economic development. This money is huge and will obviously change the country’s development landscape and have positive ripple effects,” he said. n

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