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UK eyes Malawi for investment

Britain has identified Malawi, alongside 19 other African countries, as priority investment markets, a move that is expected to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

British High Commission Charge d’Affaires Gary Leslie said in an interview yesterday that among other countries listed as priority investment destinations are South Africa, Mozambique and Angola, with additional five African countries placed under further consideration.

In view of this, Malawi has been invited to attend the UK-African Investment Summit in January 2020 in London, a platform that brings together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

Said Leslie: “There was a board of investment specialists in the city of London which looked across the African continent and they came up with the countries which they highlighted as being priority markets and I was delighted when Malawi was chosen as a

priority market.

“I certainly hope that there will not only be British investors, but global investors and major players at the summit. I hope that there will be high level places from Malawi to facilitate dialogue which will help attract significant investments into the Malawi economy.”

Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) chief executive officer Clement Kumbemba said the investment summit will give Malawi an opportunity to sell investment projects to Britain based on priority areas outlined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III and Mitc Act.

He, however, said most of the investments coming from the UK are in renewable energy sector.

“We don’t just go to attend these forums, we do a detailed research to see what will their interest be in Malawi and we profile based on UK investors profile.

“Our attendance will be based on what we think is of interest to the British investors, but at the same time we do that mindful of the priority sectors outlined in the MGDS III and Mitc Act because we don’t just shoot in the dark,” said Kumbemba.

According to policy documents, emphasis for investment in Malawi is in five priority areas, namely agriculture, energy, mining, tourism and physical infrastructure, including information and communication technology

A study by the German Development Institute estimates that 3.4 percent of Malawi’s total exports enter the UK market, translating to K30 billion in export earnings, out of the total exports valued at K807 billion.

In August last year, former British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her government had set a new ambition for the UK to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022.

The ambition was announced alongside a range of measures to boost trade between the UK and Africa and encourage UK investment in the region, including the creation of a new Africa Investors Board.

The UK-Africa Investment summit will take place in January 2020.

According to the Department for International Development(DfiD), UK-Africa trade was worth over £33 billion in 2018 and that about 2 000 British businesses currently operate in Africa.