British High Commissioner Michael Nevin on Wednesday said Malawi President Joyce Banda’s visit to the United Kingdom (UK) last week generated more goodwill and renewed interest in doing business in Malawi by British investors.
Nevin said this in an exclusive interview in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
He said: “The trip was worthwhile because President Banda showcased Malawi to the UK government, Parliament and business community and generated a lot of interest and goodwill.”
He said her address to the UK-Malawi Trade Investment Forum was well attended by key investors and well received, reflecting how much interest she generated while in the UK.
Banda ascended to the presidency last April after the death of her mercurial predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, and immediately turned to the UK and other Western donors to resume aid which had been suspended.
She has managed to convince the demanding donors abroad, but her support at home has dipped because of the painful economic reforms she is implementing.
“Her visit to the UK achieved its objectives and her message that though it’s difficult to implement the political and economic reforms she is prepared to stay the course was well received in the UK,” he said.
Nevin, who disclosed that his government largely funded the President’s trip, said Banda’s promise to stay the course resonated with the British government which is also going through similar economic challenges to some extent.
During the visit, Banda met Prime Minister David Cameron, who lauded her leadership in the British Parliament. She also held discussions with the Development Secretary Justine Greening, among other leaders.
She also attended the British Parliament question-and-answer session of the Prime Minister after earlier addressing the Scottish Parliament and joining the celebrations to mark 200 years since the birth of missionary David Livingstone.
“The UK also reaffirmed its commitment to Malawi and pledged 21 million pounds to support the HIV fight and another 16 million for emergency drug procurement,” said Nevin.