President Peter Mutharika is set to leave the country this afternoon for a week-long tour of Europe where he is scheduled to sign three multimillion dollar financial agreements, among other engagements.
During the tour, the President is also expected to hold high-profile bilateral meetings besides speaking at the European Development Day’s meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
The presidential itinerary which The Nation has seen shows that Mutharika’s first assignment will be on Wednesday when he will hold bilateral talks with ex-prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean Claude Juncker, who is now president of the European Commission.
Other official engagements for Mutharika include meeting Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, who co-chairs the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates.
Mutharika will also hold bilateral talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde and Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union (EU) commissioner for trade.
Malawi is waiting for a decision by the IMF Executive Board to make the last disbursement of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme following a two-week final review by the IMF mission which was in the country in March this year.
In an interview yesterday, State House director of communications Bright Molande described the President’s engagements as critical roles.
He said from the trip, Mutharika is expected to bring home 185 million euro (around K150 billion) from the three financial agreements which are 100 million euro for Kulima Project, 70 million euro for nutrition and 15 million euro for supporting the National Authorising Office at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Said Molande: “Our leader will hold high profile meetings with world leaders including the head of the IMF… has gone to bring back huge fortunes for the people of Malawi.
“While in Brussels, he will sign for three big financial agreements that will bring us a lot of money for big projects, including in agriculture.”
In the United Kingdom, the President has been invited to address scholars and students at Oxford University where attendance will also be by invitation.
Molande said this is one of the “greatest honours a leader can receive.”
Government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, also described the President’s trip as one of the “most valuable”.
He said: “Besides bringing multimillion dollar development projects into the country the President will join also the African icons Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa to address the elite University of Oxford Union, which has been in existence for over 500 years.”
This is President’s Mutharika second foreign trip this year after the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January this year. n