Malawi chalked up $154.6 million (about K 127.33 billion) in investment deals between June and July this year amid Covid-19 which slowed business activities, figures from Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) show.
The figures indicate that out of the $154.6 million investments Mitc recorded, $119.2 million (about K97.52 billion) come from foreign direct investment (FDIs) while $35.4 million (about K28.99 billion) is from local investments.
The Mitc figures further show that the highest source of the FDI was the United Kingdom, representing 35.16 percent followed by South Africa at 16.55 percent, Australia at 12.93 percent and Canada at 8.06 percent.
In terms of sector-specific projects, the agro sector recorded the highest number of investments valued at $94 million (about K76.95 billion) from 10 companies followed by the infrastructure development sector with investments valued at $40 million (about K32.4 billion), mining at $9 million (about K7.36 billion), manufacturing at $8.3 million (about K6.79 billion) and information and communications technology at $2.5 million (about K2 billion).
In a written response, Mitc investments promotion manager Modie Chanza said despite the global spread of the virus, which has led to a drop in FDI, Mitc continues to woo investments to the country.
She said: “Mitc operates a one-stop-service centre and provides after-care services to investors that want to establish or are operating their businesses in Malawi.
“Mitc is working with the Ministry of Lands in securing land parcels that can be availed to investors.”
Economic statistician Alick Nyasulu in an interview yesterday said issues of investments will always hinge on a favourable climate.
These include a viable financial sector with limited controls, non-discretionary tax policies, the ease to repatriate profits, cost and reliability of utilities, an efficient legal system and government bureaucracy, among others.
He said these issues have been wanting for a while, adding that Malawi still remains relatively unattractive to regional peers.
“We can only hope that these new investments both domestic and FDI are export-oriented as this is a key driver of growth,” said Nyasulu.
In Malawi, most of FDI has been directed to the energy sector followed by manufacturing and mining sectors, according to Mitc.
Over the past five years, leading sources of FDI have been Australia, China, India, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Last year, Malawi’s FDI’s registered an 88 percent decline to $98 million (about K7.74 billion), according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.