Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said one of his missions to the country was to strengthen the bilateral agreement Malawi and Scotland signed in 2005. Our reporter FATSANI GUNYA spoke to the minister on the partnership in relation to the economy, governance and other issues.
What is your impression of the country?
I love Malawi. This is my second visit to this country, to the Warm Heart of Africa. There is a lot of warmth and affection to the country of Malawi. In fact, there is no other country in the world that has warmth and affection in the hearts and minds of the people of Scotland than Malawi. You can go to the very north of Scotland or to the very south of the country, and people there know about Malawi and the history to our connections. They go back of course over 156 years.
So far, with the relationship between the two countries formalised in 2005, how has been the journey of this partnership now that it has clocked a decade this year?
One of the reasons I am here is to confirm, assess and celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the relationship, the formal signing of a cooperation agreement between Malawi and Scotland. And I would say that my assessment of those ten years is that the relationship has never been stronger. I think if Dr David Livingstone was alive today, he would have been very proud of us. What we have, for example, on our side is 94 000 Scottish people who are now involved in this relationship with Malawi. We are talking of people from young children at schools right up to the tired; the elderly people are also working in it; reaching out to each other in these two countries in various ways and means. I would say that the success of the project over the last ten years has undoubtedly been the people to people relationship. My assessment is it has been stronger than it had been before but there is still work to do, there are still improvements to be made and areas we can improve on and things Malawians can do better and we can do better just to make it work and better it. But I can confirm to you that the partnership is on the right path and I can even promise you that the relationship will keep getting better for at least another 156 years.
Talking about the age long relationship that in a sense was started by the Scottish missionaries, synods of local churches here [CCAP] have, of late, threatened to pull out of their partnership with the Church of Scotland over gay issues. Do you think this is going to, in any way or the other, affect the Malawi-Scotland partnership?
Not at all. You know, though.