On his recent tour of Malawi former British Prime Minister Tony Blair took time to bang heads with about 50 Malawian business executives where he, among other issues, highlighted the importance of good governance.
The meeting was held in camera at Comesa Hall in Blantyre but in a five-minute press briefing at the end of the meeting; Blair said Malawi has potential in areas such as mining, tourism, and agriculture.
He spoke of his Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) which will start working in Malawi soon.
â€œWhat we want to do here (Malawi) is that we support the government in its programmes. For example, working out priorities and things that need to be doneâ€¦the real challenge of governments today is getting things done, and thatâ€™s the practical experience that we bring in.
â€œWhat we do for other governments is what we will do here. But we always make it clear that our purpose is not to tell government what to do. The government has got its programmes, the country has got its own destinyâ€¦what we can do, I hope, is to provide some technical expertise,â€ said Blair.
He noted that relations between Malawi and Britain have improved in the last three months, and said he knows that the British Government is committed to supporting Malawi. He also said Malawi is generating a lot of international interest that can be converted into foreign investment easily.
One of the business captains that attended the meeting with Blair, Professor Matthews Chikaonda who is Group CEO for Press Corporation Limited, said the meeting was a good eye-opener.
â€œIt is through private sector investment and economic growth that we will actually have growth in Malawi and reduce poverty. Those were the main issues. He told us how to do it and gave us examples of where itâ€™s been done before,â€ said Chikaonda.
Chikaonda also said the issue of governance took centre stage as it affects investment. He said for the economy to grow there is need to have good governance.