Malawi attracted $965 million (K434 billion, at the current exchange rate) worth of investment, but that is 19 percent lower than total investment the country attracted in 2012.
In contrast, the country earned foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows worth $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by the Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc).
The data show that total investment level in 2013 created 36 097 jobs which is nine times more than the jobs created in 2012, estimated at 4 977.
It is generally accepted economically that larger inflows of foreign investments are needed for the country to achieve a sustainable high trajectory of economic growth.
“Though the figures have slumped in 2013, employment levels registered grew exponentially. This is due to the fact that Mitc has developed a focused promotional strategy based on criteria of employment, forex generation, import substitution and other projects that have a productive nature to Malawi,” said Mitc public relations manager Deliby Nyale, when explaining last year’s investment performance.
She said 2013 brought about significant investment enquiries and commitments of magnitudes that would have an obvious socio-economic impact on Malawi when implemented.
But Nyale admitted that in the past years, there have been significant interests from investors, but the investment environment was not yet ready practically such that many re-located to neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique, which offered better terms, less bureaucracy and had more operating and marketing space than Malawi.
She also said last year saw Malawi preparing herself for an upsurge of transforming investments.
“One important transformation process has been the streamlining of the investment coordination and processing environment under the doing business reforms and the deliberate symbiotic intra-synergies being created between the relevant government ministries and departments and Mitc with the sole objective of enhancing productive investments into Malawi,” said Nyale.
In the year just ended, Malawi received numerous investment and trade delegations mostly from the UK, Germany, China, India and South Africa, among others.
Malawi also attended a number of investment forums in the UK, South Africa, Japan, China, and Sri Lanka, among others.
As a result of such participation, Malawi is receiving a lot of inquiries weekly as well as receiving in-coming delegations.
“So with such prospects and opportunities, we at Mitc believe that transformation in this country [from net-importer to net-exporter] can be achieved in the short to medium term. But to achieve such a target, Malawi has to work together and Malawians have to be patriotic to their country and resources,” said Nyale.
In 2011, Malawi earned $987 million through investment, a significant jump from the investment level of $71 million in 2010.