Encouraging investors to Malawi has been one of the president of Malawi’s priorities during her visit to the United Kingdom. Joyce Banda’s visit to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Scottish missionary David Livingstone has also included high level governmental meetings, discussions with specialist institutions and the opening of the second UK-Malawi Investment Forum. Four mining companies (Malcoal, Globe Metals & Mining, Paladin and Mkango Resources) operating in Malawi were sponsors of the event.
The Forum was organised by Developing Markets Associates, hosted in association with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of the Republic of Malawi; the first investment forum was organised by the Commonwealth Business Council in 2008. This year’s event took place in Drapers’ Hall in the City of London.
Banda opened the Forum by focussing on the five priority areas identified in the country’s Economic Recovery Plan: agriculture, tourism, mining, energy and infrastructure development. Different sessions were dedicated to these key areas. A transcription and video of her speech recorded by someone in the audience and uploaded by the Youtube User MyAfricanPassport can be found below.
Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume told the Forum that the dispute with Tanzania over Lake Malawi will be resolved amicably and if it fails to be resolved by the Africa Forum of former African Heads of State and Government it will be taken to the International Court of Justice.
John Bande Minister of Mining for Malawi reportedly said
When God distributed minerals Malawi was not left out – Minster of Mining Hon John Bande MP @ UK-Malawi Forum #AfricaOnTop
— MiningOnTop (@MiningOnTop) March 20, 2013
He told the Forum that
We are slowly but surely discovering a number of deposits in Malawi. That’s the whole reason President Dr Banda has selected mining as one of the priority areas under the economic recovery plan [sic].
Alex Lemon, President of Canadian company Mkango Resources discussed the company’s current exploration activities in Malawi and Graeme Robertson, chairman of the Intra Energy, examined the company’s plan for coal mining and supporting coal fired power generation in the country.
Participants at the Forum from Malawi included Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe, Minister of Mining John Bande, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume, along with Press Corporation CEO Mathews Chikaonda and Standard Bank CEO Charles Mudiwa.
Other significant participants included Matam Sandhu, Chief Executive of Developing Markets Associates, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Office of Scotland David Mundell, former British Minister for State for Africa Henry Bellingham, President of the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group Lord Steel of Aikwood, Alex Lemon President of Mkango Resources, and the Director of the Royal African Society Richard Dowden.
The draft programme of the day’s events can be found online. We will continue updating this page as more information is released.
Below: Joyce Banda’s Key Address (Transcription and Video)
Malawi presents great investment opportunities, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. Firstly, as a former British colony, business and government culture is modelled on British tradition. English is the country’s official language. The legal system is based on the English Common Law and Malawi’s educational system mirrors that of the United Kingdom. Malawi is a democratic and peaceful country with a history of political stability since its independence […]. In tourism, Malawi is referred to as the “Warm Heart of Africa” not only because of its temperate subtropical climate, but also because of the warmth and friendliness of her people, the safety of the country and the many breathtaking tourist attractions. The country is founded on strong tenets of constitutionalism and the rule of law. The smooth transition of power over the years attests to this.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Malawi is a liberalised, free market economy with preferential market access to regional and international markets and at the Common Market for East and Southern Africa COMESA, the Southern African Development Community, the European Cotonou Agreement and the African Growth and Opportunity Act of the United States of America. Malawi also enjoys a number of bilateral agreements that support trade and investment. Investing in Malawi will therefore not only target the local market, but also regional and international markets. This Investment Forum has come at a very opportune time as Malawi has embarked on a private sector driven economic growth.
As you may be aware, when I assumed leadership of the country, the nation had pressing political and economic governance challenges that needed urgent attention. I therefore quickly embarked on political and economic reforms in order to stabilise the country. My government instituted monetary and fiscal policies to stabilise the economy. We also introduced austerity measures to cut out waste and promote prudent fiscal management. This as you will recall meant that I even had to sell the presidential jet and reduce my own salary by 30%. The Government launched the Economic Recovery Plan as an economic road map intended to stabilise the economy and create a transformative framework for sustainable growth. In this regard, the Economic Recovery Plan identified five priority sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, mining, energy and infrastructure development, including information and communication technology. Central to these priorities is our emphasis on delivery through the involvement of and in partnership with the private sector.
In agriculture, the government seeks to modernise the agricultural sector through crop diversification, commercialisation and expanded education programmes. Malawi believes that agriculture is key to food security and economic growth. The agricultural sector provides opportunities in large scale commercial farming, livestock production, aquaculture and horticulture. Further investment opportunities exist in agriculture business and agri-industries, irrigation.
In the energy sector, there are investment opportunities in power generation, transmission and distribution from hydro, solar, biomass and wind through public-private partnerships, PPP. and by involving independent power producers.
In mining, we have recently opened a uranium mine and we are in the process of opening a niobium mine. Malawi is rich with many mineral resources, including uranium, bauxite, monazite, coal, precious and semi precious stones, limestone, phosphates, rare earth minerals, heavy mineral sands, graphite and other minerals as well as oil and gas. We invite you to come and invest in mining. Government is also in the process of developing a mining code and a comprehensive, countrywide airborne geophysical survey.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, there are also investment opportunities in the tourism sector. We are looking for investment in the construction of hotels and high-price lodges along the long and sandy beaches of Lake Malawi, upgrading and management of game reserves and promotion of water sports, including cruise vessels on Lake Malawi. Malawi is open to investment in casinos and amusement parks.
In infrastructure development, our plan is to expand and modernise various types of infrastructure. In the transport sector for example opportunities exist in the construction of roads, upgrading of airports and rehabilitation of railway lines. This includes transport infrastructure to sea ports in our neighbouring coastal countries in order to improve access to international markets. In information and communications technology, we have as a major initiative the e-government project estimated at USD 145 million.
In all these investment opportunities, we are looking for strategic partnerships. I would like to invite fund managers, financial institutions and private corporations here present to seriously consider partnering with us by seizing these opportunities. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, to facilitate the development and to regulate the implementation of private-public partnerships the government has enacted a Public-Private Partnership Act and has created a one structure for investors. Under this new infrastructure, Malawi intends to ease the procedures and create incentives for investors by among other things guarantteeing the easing of business licencing of qualified businesses in the shortest time possible and harmonising the granting of permits and incentives.
Our goal is to take Malawi to the top 100 countries of the World Bank Doing Business Rankings in the next two years. And the government is committed to turning Malawi around from being an aid-dependent to being a vibrant trading and investment nation. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Malawi believes that regional integration is key to consolidating the country’s development agenda in the region, including intra-regional trade. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa COMESA and the Southern Africa Development Community SADC provide vast market opportunities for trade and investment. As I’ve said earlier on, the Investment Forum could not have taken place at a better time.
Since this post went live, Developing Markets Associates produced a short online review of the Forum including links to the slides used by presenters and uploaded Investing in Malawi 2013 report with a chapter on extractives.