If there is one government agency that could be a beacon of hope that sometimes reforms in Malawi might just work, it is the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
Since its formation from the merger of the Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (Mipa) and Malawi Export Promotion Council (Mepc) and incorporated under the Companies Act in December 2010 with operations starting in October 2011, Mitc has moved quickly to be a responsible agency for promoting trade and investment in Malawi.
The centre asserts itself as being geared towards promoting production (investment promotion) and marketing (export promotion) of Malawi’s goods and services.
And when the recent public sector reforms agenda rolled out and helped the agency to consolidate its one stop strategic positioning, Mitc has appeared to be highly motivated to carry out its mandate with enthusiasm.
That eagerness to deliver was evident in how—from June 29-30 2015—it pooled business captains from around the globe into Lilongwe for what was billed as the first ever Malawi Investment Forum.
During that gathering, the centre facilitated the marketing of investment opportunities the sectors of agriculture/agro-processing, energy, services, food and beverage, information and communication technology (ICT), infrastructure, tourism, mining, manufacturing and forestry.
And next week, the centre will host a delegation of 17 investors from the United Kingdom (UK) who are scheduled to visit Malawi from August 31 to September 4. According to Mitc chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba, the investors will prospect various potential investment opportunities in Malawi as a follow-up to the meetings which the investors had with Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha in London last year.
All this is commendable because it is a good start. But the most important thing is to realise that whatever has happened so far is just preparatory work for the end game, which is to bring billions of dollars worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malawi, boost our foreign exchange buffer, grow the economy, create jobs, expand and deepen government revenue for public infrastructure investment and social development, including livelihood improvements.
As I said, I respect the momentum Mitc has pumped into its trade and investment programme.
I hope they can sustain it and, most importantly, I pray that it brings results and not just trips and tours for officials with nothing to show for it.
We have done that for the past 51 years and look what it brought us. Do we really want to repeat the same mistakes for the next 49 years?
That will be a real shame.
So, the people of Khwawa in Karonga, Chibanja in Mzuzu, Central in Zomba, Msikisi in Mangochi and Luchenza in Thyolo have given us a glimpse of the national political temperature at the moment!
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was the biggest winner not just because they won three ward seats, but also because this week’s local government elections have just demonstrated that nothing has really changed since the May 20 Tripartite Elections.
Sure, official results from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced in Blantyre on Thursday showed that of the five wards that were being contested, DPP won Khwawa Ward in Karonga; retained Central Ward in Zomba and Luchenza Ward in Thyolo while the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won Chibanja Ward in Mzuzu and the United Democratic Front (UDF) retained Msikisi Ward in Mangochi. The real loser is People’s Party (PP), which, by failing to secure any local government seat, has lost some steam. Otherwise, the election has changed little. DPP remains the slight favourite, closely followed by MCP, UDF and then the shriveling PP.