President Peter Mutharika yesterday enticed Chinese investors, saying Malawi is fast becoming an investment haven for southern Africa.
Speaking during the launch of Malawi-China Investment Forum in Lilongwe, the President assured Chinese investors that government will provide security for their investment, stressing that they should not fear to invest their money in the country.
The two countries have organised the investment forum of as one way of boosting trade and investment.
Said Mutharika: “Malawi is at a turning point. In the last two years, we have begun to do what we have never done at any point in our history.
“We are moving Malawi from aid to trade and I want to assure you [investors] that government is set to provide security of your investment, life and property. This includes flexibility in repatriation of profits without exploiting Malawians.”
He said Malawi is open for business and has set the stage to make Chinese investors secure and worth their time by, among other things, establishing a one- stop service centre at Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) in Lilongwe to speed up investment process.
On the liberalised exchange rate, Mutharika said Malawi will continue upholding this policy because it has helped the kwacha to find its true value.
“Malawi has liberalised the exchange rate and we will continue upholding this policy because the kwacha has been stable over the last year as a result of this. As government, we hope the trend will continue into the foreseeable future,” he said.
On energy which has been a thorny issue affecting production, Mutharika said by June 2017, Malawi’s upgraded transmission infrastructure will have the capacity to carry 7 000 megawatts (MW).
The Chinese investors leader of delegation Song Wei Ping said they are encouraged to come and invest in Malawi because it is rich in resources and offers them a great opportunity to do business.
“It is our hope that this forum will open up ways for other Chinese investors to come and invest in this beautiful country,” he said.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha said the forum has come at the time the country is growing its industries through diversification.
He said investors are ready to venture into commercial farming, develop industrial parks and build more technical colleges.
‘The agriculture sector has to be commercialised, meaning that while we aggregate the smallholder farmers through initiatives such as cooperatives, we also develop estate farming,” he said.
Indigenous Businessperson Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa urged government to come up with empowerment policies so that Chinese investors should not take away small-scale businesses from Malawians.