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Malawi touted at Japan-Africa Business Forum as ideal investment destination

Malawi has been touted as a country that has  enthusiasm for investment with Minister of Trade and Industry Henry Mussa appealing  during this year’s Africa-Japan Business Forum for equal financing on serious investments for African countries to boost economic growth.

The purpose of the event was to strengthen ties between Japanese and African business communities, and to share best practices and opportunities.

Lively discussions took place on such themes as infrastructure expected from Japanese investment, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, finance and insurance, all from the perspective of how to achieve sustainable growth in Africa and transform the continent’s economic structure.

Mussa told the gathering that despite increased agricultural production and food self-sufficiency, agri-business and value addition in many Africa countries, their economies retain their shrinking modes due to poor financing.

He pointed out that some African countries are grappling with how to develop their economies so as to uplift the lives of their people, and at the same time, fight poverty and underdevelopment.

“We need you to invest in developing our innovation and technology capabilities; for the reason that we ourselves do not have the financial muscle,” said Mussa.

Malawi is currently at level 133 out of 162 countries on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ with the desire to be in the top 100.

Government of Malawi has over the past few years adopted a transformative policy that aids foreign investors to penetrate the local industry within the shortest period of time possible. Through the Malawi Investment Trade Centre, investors find a one-stop shop which houses all essential government departments that are involved in registration, vetting and approval of new businesses.

The Land Act was promulgated to allow the State to easily redistribute land to would-be investors, various incentives including tax holidays, investment allowances, have been put in place.

Malawi’s constitution guarantees equal participation of businesses in qualifying areas. Further, Malawi is a free-market economy and foreign investors are allowed to repatriate 100% of profits and dividends.

The policy also allows 100% ownership of private investment unless stipulated. However, joint venture with locals is encouraged for employment purposes.

In his presentation at the forum as a speaker, former presidential aide Dr. Ben Phiri  told global business leaders and investors that Malawi is an ideal value-for-money destination for any business that aspires to establish a hold in the SADC and Comesa economic blocs.

Phiri’s presentation was titled “Translating African Challenges into Business Opportunities: A Case Study of Malawi.”

The Executive Chairperson of Beata Holdings who is also senior member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party told the gathering that Malawi is one of five newest destination for meaningful investment owing to its geographic positioning and an overhaul of government policy in matters of foreign direct investment (FDI) among the many factors.