Energy, infrastructure top GAIS London
Close to 1,200 businesses gathered at the Central Hall in Westminster, London and Malawi, whose delegation included 32 private sector participants, presented four key sectors of agro-processing, infrastructure development, energy and Tourism.
President Mutharika in his address to All Africa Parliamentary Group hosted by Baroness Lynda Chalker and later in a BBC Hard Talk interview with Zainab Badawi, singled out energy as critical to Malawi’s quest to economic independence.
“We are looking at diversifying the energy sector with investment in clean coal plants, renewable projects from solar to windmills and increase some of the hydro potential sites. In five years to come we want to deal with the issue of energy supply and diversify the economy from tobacco to others such as mining, manufacturing and agro-processing. All this can be done with proper energy supply,” said Mutharika.
The summit was presented with variety of energy investment opportunities including the renewable energy supply project by Lilongwe Water Board to enable it pump water under the USD100 million Diamphwe multi–purpose dam project aims at an investment to supply water in Lilongwe Town and the peri–urban areas up to 2045.
The Dam Construction with reservoir capacity of 134 million cubic meters, will supply Malawi’s growing economic and political hub, that will include, Water Treatment Plant Construction, 246,000 m3/day, Transmission Pipeline Installation from Diamphwe, about 30 km long and even Irrigation provision for capacity to irrigate up to 1000 hectares.
The Malawi Housing Corporation attracted investors to its United Nations Complex unit with 1000 housing units estimated to cost USD100 million apart from expanding its current housing units base.
The Tourism sector saw Country Wide Hotels sale its concept of new resorts, while Nkhotakota Milling Company was seeking investment to expand its rice production and processing capacity.
The President capped the summit when he told the 1000 plus businesses, that Malawi was open for business and it had started working on developing appropriate skills on young generation to support any type of investment that would come to Malawi.
“Malawi can be independent if we get a fair deal in trade. Pay us the right prices, let us add value to our products,” argued the President, citing the buyer dictated pricing systems as having seen Malawi lose 8 percent of its tobacco revenue in 2014/2015 growing season.
The final event was when Mutharika the signing of a solar power agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) Government through International Development Minister Nick Hurd on the sidelines of Global African Investment Summit in London. Minister of Energy Bright Msaka signed on behalf of Malawi Government. The agreement is aligned to Sustainable Development Goal and will see two Governments work closer to power up solar across the country in a bid to transform people’s lives.
Africa still has a huge energy deficit and up to USD450 billion worth of investment potential in the sector.Malawi’s industrial development is dependent on the availability of electricity. One cannot speak of mining, commercial agriculture and food security, ICT, or even health and education without energy. Electricity is, in very significant ways, a requirement for Malawi's socio-economic development