Six Chinese banks have expressed interest to finance and enhance private sector activities in Malawi and 53 other African countries.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Principal Secretary Ben Botolo disclosed this in Beijing, China on Tuesday at the end of a ministerial-level summit on the implementation of the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) action plan.
About 80 delegates from China and 54 African countries, including Malawi attended the summit.
Botolo, who is leading Malawi negotiation team, said they are still analysing the contents of the proposals by the Chinese institutions to see what is best for Malawi.
He said: “We met the banks’ representatives, but we will also engage the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry [MCCCI] and other private sector players in Malawi on how they can access the funds and then we move forward as a country.”
Botolo, accompanied by Malawi’s Ambassador to China Charles Namondwe and 53 other delegates from Africa, met representatives of China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China, Agriculture Bank of China, China Construction Bank, China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation and Bank of China.
He said they are looking forward to striking better trade deals for Malawi, which is an agro-based economy.
“This assistance has a special window for private sector and it is important to incorporate them in the review process and see how government can access and enhance development projects in Malawi.
“Trade should not be skewed towards one direction. It has to go either way mutually because we need Malawians to produce and export to China.
“We also need transportation of goods to markets that is why now we borrow to ensure that the cost of doing business is minimal,” said Botolo.
China Development Bank chief economist Liu Yong told the gathering that the volume of bilateral trade between China and Africa stood at $200 billion (about K150 trillion) last year, adding that trade between the two parties has grown over the past 16 years.
He pledged cooperation on behalf of the eight Chinese financial firms with their African partners to improve capacity of China’s infrastructure financing across the continent.
From 2007 when China and Malawi established diplomatic ties, China has constructed several infrastructures in the country, including the Karonga-Chitipa Road, Bingu National Stadium, Parliament Building, President’s Walmont Hotel and presidential villas.
Last year, Chinese President Xi Jingping urged Chinese companies to provide loans and invest about $10 billion (about K7.4 trillion) in Africa’s small and medium enterprises until 2021 to complement development efforts.