President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday told a Domestic Investment Promotion Forum that government is creating an enabling business environment to boost domestic investment.
The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) virtual forum was organised to showcase investment opportunities for local investors and facilitate business linkages and access to markets for producers.
Chakwera said the country can increase the productive capacity of industries with the right investors and lift people out of what he termed ‘man-made poverty’.
He said: “The scale of the investment challenge we face requires new flows of private capital.
“Although foreign direct investment is necessary because of the additional resources and competencies it brings, domestic investment must play its part, and the best chance of achieving that is by encouraging collaboration and partnerships among local businesses”.
However, the President lamented lack of cooperation among investors, as there are many transformational projects that require collaborative efforts and financing.
“With the right investors, we can create millions of jobs as income generating opportunities for millions of households. In my view, not only is this something we can, but something we must do,” Chakwera said.
He said that is why government instituted a number of pro-business reforms, such as the review of laws, including the Control of Goods Act, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, and the Employment Act to create a good business environment.
During the forum, the President launched Malawi Compendium of Investment Projects, which was first released in 2016 but has included new projects that have emerged over the years.
The compendium includes projects in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, energy, mining, transport and infrastructure.
On his part, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said one of the emerging trends due to Covid-19 and ongoing trade wars, is the drive to bring work and jobs back.
“Thus, the domestic investment forum has been organised to encourage Malawian businesses to invest in this country.
“Through the forum, we would also like to encourage the diaspora communities to seriously consider investing in the country,” he said.
Mitc board chairperson Karl Chokotho said foreign investors are likely to put on hold plans to invest and reinvest in Africa, including Malawi due to loss of revenue and a reduction of output.
According to a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) report, Malawi’s foreign direct investment (FDI) registered an 88 percent decline to $98 million (about K7.74 billion) in 2020
The Unctad’s 2021 World Investment Report said the decline was largely due to the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, policy uncertainty for investors and elevated geopolitical risks.
The Investing in Sustainable Recovery Report shows that in 2019, Malawi generated $822 million (about K6.49 trillion) in FDIs, down from the previous year’s $959 million (about K7.57 trillion).