The United Kingdom (UK) has expressed commitment to supporting African countries, including Malawi, in trade and investment by negotiating independent trade agreements.
UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss made the commitment in London, United Kingdom on Monday during a panel discussion on trade and investment.
The panel discussion, which featured President Peter Mutharika, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and President of Guinea Alpha Conde, was part of activities at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.
“African nations represent a larger opportunity and, as such, it is our ambition to secure 80 percent of UK’s trade in free trade agreements,” she said.
On his part, Mutharika said Africa should move quickly and be ready for further trade with UK to be on a steady path.
He said there is need to invest in agriculture and add value to high- yielding crops such as soya beans, pigeon peas and cow peas.
But the President expressed concern that despite Malawi’s priority being to address the supply side constraints such as energy and financing, the major challenge the country faces is little production capacity.
Said Mutharika: “Our priority is to bring industrialisation to the rural areas by assisting farmers with farm inputs and training them to farm properly.
“If we can achieve that, we will be able to industrialise the rural areas and get the people out of poverty.” The panel discussion tackled issues such as trade and investment, future African growth sectors, clean energy and climate and improved transport network.