Malawi has attracted more than 300 foreign and domestic investments worth $6.5 billion (about K4.7 trillion) between 2011 and mid 2016, figures from Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) show.
The investments have also created thousands of jobs, helping the country to lessen the unemployment rate, which stands at about 21 percent, according to a recent Malawi Labour Force Survey.
In the past two years, Malawi has been on the overdrive to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) largely through Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) 2015 and 2016 and the first-ever Malawi-China Investment Forum.
Mitc public relations officer Deliby Chimbalu in an interview last week said the number of projects is showing an increasing trend each year.
However, the cost of the projects differs depending on the nature and sector of interest.
Data from Mitc show that in 2011, 2012 and 2014, the investment pledges were above $1.5 billion (about K1 trillion).
Said Chimbalu: “From the records that we have, these years had most of the investment projects in capital intensive sectors such as energy and mining; hence, the rise in the figures.”
But she said the establishment of one-stop-service centre at Mitc has also contributed to the increased levels of companies being registered for various investment projects.
As a result of this, all crucial institutions in the investment registration process are now operating under one roof within Mitc and these include Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Registrar of Companies, Immigration Department and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Investment experts say the move has helped to speed up approvals of necessary permits for investment registration.
Currently applications for investment certificates are taking a maximum of five days when previously they were taking one month, according to Mitc.
“These kinds of reforms reinforce the attractiveness of Malawi as an investment location to foreign companies as well as local companies,” said Chimbalu.
Figures from Mitc show that more than 200 companies have their investment in the country.
China, United Kingdom (UK) and India brought in most top investors between 2011 and 2016.
The most popular sectors for investment within the period were manufacturing, energy, mining, tourism, finance, agriculture, agro-processing and infrastructure development (real estate).
During this year’s investment forum, the Malawi government signed 13 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with investors in energy, water, transport and agricultural sector, among others.
The MoUs include the $172 million development of a 42 megawatt (MW) hydro power plant at Lweya River in Nkhata Bay by Water Wheels International and project on management and operation of toll roads by Khato Civils Limited.