The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc), the country’s one-stop investment coordination centre, seems to be helpless in terms of attracting prospective investors for projects contained in the 2016 Projects Compendium.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba conceded that the agency is finding it hard to sell some of the projects in the compendium due to lack of proper documentation particularly on costs.
He said that despite the overwhelming response Mitc is receiving from potential investors, lack of a full feasibility study on the projects is another setback.
“The response is always good for those projects. People are always looking for projects in Malawi and that is a good starting point. The only challenge is that some of the projects in the compendium are not yet bankable. They do not have full feasibility study documents,” said Kumbemba.
“A project that has a full feasibility study is much easier to sell but some of those projects do not have proper documentation and those that have proper documentation are receiving responses from the investing public.”
Kumbemba said, for instance, during the past week alone, there have been over 18 enquiries from Chinese and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors, adding that some investors are being redirected to their project promoters.
Launched in October 2016, the compendium presents investment opportunities for 118 bankable projects in various sectors, including energy, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, media and communications and infrastructure development.
According to the 2016 compendium, some of the projects whose costs are yet to be determined include local production of organic fertiliser, development of industrial parks in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Chintheche and Nkata Bay, Lake Malawi Aquaculture Project, waste energy management in Lilongwe and Blantyre city councils, construction and management of a hydropower station on Mulunguzi River in Zomba and commercial farming project.
During the opening of Malawi-China Investment Forum last year, President Peter Mutharika said his government is focusing on developing the private sector to create more jobs for its people, as the private sector is touted as the engine of economic development.
According to figures from Mitc, between 2011 and mid 2016, Malawi attracted foreign and domestic investments worth $6.5 billion (about K4.7 trillion).
A strategic plan by Mitc project shows that the country’s investments are set to rise to $15 billion with increased export earnings to $4.9 billion by 2019 as well as the creation of 650 000 direct and indirect jobs. n