Malawi will not attend this year’s Africa Global Business Forum 2014, in Dubai next month,a platform that has been billed as important for the continent’s investment opportunities.
Analysts have often said Malawi and other African States need to attract as much investment as possible to create employment, prompt economic growth and development and reduce poverty.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently announced that five African presidents, including Paul Kagame, of Rwanda and Armando Guebuza, of Mozambique; three prime ministers and more than seven ministers have confirmed their attendance.
But in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said Malawi has not been invited and will not attend the forum.
He was, however, quick to point out that Malawi will have a trade mission in Dubai in November which has been packaged to be as effective as possible.
“We believe that we cannot just be attending each and every forum for the sake of it. Malawi will have a trade mission, which we are organising with the private sector. We believe the mission will yield a lot of results because we will effectively market trade and investment opportunities that are available in Malawi,” said Nkombezi.
Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) public relations manager Deliby Chimbalu earlier said that during the Malawi-United Arab Emirate (UEA) mission, the country will sign two trade agreements—a double taxation agreement (DTA) and an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA)—apart from exhibiting opportunities in trade and investment that are available in Malawi.
Commenting on the effectiveness of the previous trade missions and forums, Nkombezi said that some of the investments that are in the country, including telecommunications, and agriculture are a result of the platforms.
He, however, said the investors being what they are take time to assess the opportunities and, therefore, results may not be immediate.
Government has pivoted towards some ministries, including Industry and Trade because they play a vital role in investment, job creation, economic growth and development.
Due to poor business environment and lack of focus, Malawi underperformed in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2013 by attracting about $118 million approximately 10 percent lower than the previous year’s $129 million.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) 2014 Investment Report, Malawi’s 2013 FDI is far below what its neighbours attracted with Mozambique having raked in about $5.9 billion, Zambia $1.8 billion while Tanzania attracted $1.9 billion.