APM’s Govt Reforms Impress UK Investors At Commonwealth Meeting
Malawi’s aggressive reforms in infrastructure, investment and land regulatory framework are aimed at improving competitiveness of the country at a global level to attract investors in all sectors of economy, Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Henry Mussa has said.
Mussa was speaking on Tuesday evening at the Commonwealth headquarters in London at a start of a series of investment, trade and tourism stakeholder’s engagement of England based investors. The meeting was hosted by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.
“His Excellency President Peter Mutharika has challenged us to go and market Malawi. I am here to listen to you, be open and candid on issues that you want the Malawi government to address and we will. The President wants you to come and invest in Malawi. The UK is a historical and strategic partner for Malawi,” said the Minister.
He said the current administration has embarked on regulatory reforms and infrastructure development that supports long term investments in agro-processing, energy, mining, tourism, education, health and infrastructure development.
“Most complained of having to move into many places to register, apply for licenses, land and services. We developed a one stop investment and trade centre. We are working on improving energy supply for the manufacturing sector to grow by next year we will have improved, the land laws have been reformed. What we are now asking is what else do you want done to bring investment. Malawi is ready and open now for investment,” said the Minister.
He said government was open to support investors who could process and value add in Malawi, saying the country has now embarked on improving airports, rail and roads to ensure that investors are connected to regional and international markets.
In his presentation to the business captains, Chief Executive Officer for the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre Clement Kumbemba said Malawi’s economy is now registering great improvement with interest rates and inflation coming down and is expected to grow in the next year.
“For investors in the priority areas such as infrastructure, energy and agro-processing, we offer incentives from duty-free on machinery and tax holidays up to 10 percent. The MITC is a one stop centre that allows you even to register a company within a day and get all relevant licences within a reasonable period,” said Kumbemba.
The investors who were drawn from energy, mining, services and tourism sectors identified several areas that Malawi requires to improve including processing of investment partnerships with government, need to remove frustrating procurement procedures and consistency in terms of what is available in terms of investment.
They also spoke of the urgent need for a direct flight to Malawi from Europe.
“Malawi is a very right place for any business, beautiful, friendly and hardworking environment. There is a need to improve logistics and awareness of what it can offer. Malawi is not well known as a destination to many, aggressive marketing, reducing the cost of doing business like using the nacala corridor, having consistent energy and infrastructure improvement.
“Sort out infrastructure, stick to deadlines, most governments ignore time frames and delay projects, Malawi can attract the best of UK investment,” one of the investor in mining sector told the Minister. He cannot be identified due to reporting restrictions which allowed open and frank exchange of issues between the Minister and investors.
The CEIC meeting was organised for those with interests in Malawi or wishing to invest, while later during his visit he will give a presentation to the Commonwealth Argosy Events, meet officials from CDC and travel to Liverpool, Manchester and Leicester where he is expected to meet various groups of business leaders interested in investing in Malawi.