WELCOME REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI AT MEETING PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE BRENTHURST FOUNDATION
19TH JUNE 2017
I am pleased to welcome Your Excellency General Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria, and Chairperson of the Brenthurst Foundation.
Let me also welcome the other members of your delegation. I notice Greg Mills is here. I knew him in mid 90s when he served as the National Director of the South African Institute of International Affairs. Welcome to Malawi.
In our culture, we celebrate visitors because a visitor is a great fortune. This is how we build human relations.
In this country, we do not have the tradition of breaking the kola nut. But we open the door to our heart in our smiles. Malawi is a land of smiles. Once again, welcome to Malawi.
When we met in Addis Ababa in February 2015, we discussed business opportunities and growth potential of Malawi, among other things.
You will recall that we also met in London and discussed making Africa work and the subject of investments.
I invited you to visit Malawi because I believe you can make a significant contribution to our country. And I am glad you accepted.
I want to commend you that you have carried the African flag of promoting investments on the continent.
As you and I know, Africa is not a poor continent although our people are poor. We have the resources. We have great opportunities. What we need is to turn our natural assets into capital.
For this to happen, we need our people to be equipped with the right skills. And above all, we need our people to have the right mindset.
There are some people out there who see Africa from a distance, and they want the world to believe that Africans are poor because there is no democracy in Africa. They ignore the complexities of our situation, and the structural challenges of globalisation.
Otherwise, Africans are people who have always known good governance.
I am therefore delighted that Your Excellency have identified our urgent need to promote private investments in order for us to turn our natural resources into wealth.
I understand you have gone round the country. You can now agree with me that Malawi is a land of great opportunities.
Every time you and I meet, we discuss trade, investments and growth. This is the path Africa should take. And I am glad we share a common mind on pursuing this path.
As a country, we are doing the utmost to provide an investment environment and take Malawi to prosperity.
When I took over the Presidency in 2014, the Malawi economy was on the verge of collapse. We found an inefficient and ineffective public service. And we had floods and drought that left the majority of our people food insecure.
But we got out of this situation. We managed to provide food for everyone. And this year, we have produced enough.
The economy has stabilised and is now on the rebound to remarkable growth.
Inflation was at 24.5 percent. Now inflation is at 12.3 percent.
Interest rates were above 40 percent. Now we have halved them, and going down.
And for three years, we have run this country without direct budget support.
We are also heavily investing in energy production because we want to boost our industries from now and ever.
Malawi has a lot of precious minerals. Once we have increased our power generation capacity, we are unlocking our minerals for large scale mineral exploitation.
Apart from minerals, we have also opened investment opportunities in agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism and many more areas.
I am sure your team has seen a lot more opportunities as they visited our country.
And today, having you General Obasanjo visit our country on an investment mission is worthy our deepest appreciation.
I hope you are enjoying your visit.
Thank you for coming to see me.
And thank you for your attention.