Nico Holdings plc managing director Vizenge Kumwenda says the door is open for investors to join its flagship construction projects, including the $52 million (about K70 million) 180-room golf and spa hotel in Lilongwe.
Speaking to investors at a business-to-business side event which the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) and Malawi Embassy in Egypt organised at the ongoing Third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) on Saturday in Cairo, he said the hotel is expected to be run by the Marriot Group.
Kumwenda said Malawi has a conducive environment for business and with its booming tourism sector in the aftermath of Covid-19, the country offers great potential for investment.
He said: “With a balance sheet of around $1.1 billion [K1.8 trillion], Nico Group has ventured into various projects in infrastructure space.
“We have green shopping malls housing international brands such as Shoprite and more recently, we funded one of the first traffic interchange in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.”
Kumwenda said there are also ongoing projects such as the 180-room hotel with a golf course that the Malawi Stock Exchange-listed firm is undertaking at Lilongwe Golf Club.
“We also have the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project that once completed will tap potable water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe which we encourage you to partner and invest in,” he told the delegates.
For instance, Kumwenda said the first phase of the 100-kilometre Salima- Lilongwe Water Project will require about $48 million (K81.6 billion) part of which Nico Group is providing with NBS Bank plc as arranger of the funding.
He said: “However, Malawi is an agro-based economy and there are lots of other opportunities to be explored such as in the edible oils space.
“So far, the country consumes about 105 million litres of edible oils, but 74 million litres of that is imported. This is an opportunity for import substitution by setting up a plant to produce oils and Nico Holdings plc is willing to support such projects.”
Kumwenda outlined other investment opportunities in mega farms where the government has identified about 60 000 hectares for growing various crops such as wheat, cotton, soya, sugarcane and groundnuts that can be value-added for export.
Minister of Trade and Industry Sosten Gwengwe said the country will inevitably leverage its participation at IATF 2023 to showcase its potential, strength and capacity in line with Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development strategy.
He said: “Inter-Africa Trade Fair serves as a significant platform for promoting intra-African trade and fostering economic integration among African countries.
“It is an opportunity for countries like ours to showcase their products and services, explore new business partnerships, and enhance regional trade cooperation.”
Mitc chief executive officer Paul Kwengwere said the Malawi Embassy in Egypt hasprofiled companies from the Egyptian Business Association to engage with Malawians firms at the fair to forge investment partnerships and explore market opportunities.
IATF 2023, a flagship trade fair of the Afreximbank, seeks to optimise access to Africa’s connected markets through the African Continental Free Trade Area.