ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI AT THE GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY OF THE LILONGWE GRAND BUSINESS PARK, LILONGWE, ON WEDNESDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER, 2017
We are here to see more results of direct investment program of the DPP. The coming of Lilongwe Grand Business Park is testimony that our direct investment program is delivering results.
Foreign Direct Investment is a program that brings money and jobs into the country. It brings new infrastructure. It transforms the landscape of our cities. Direct investment makes our economy better and better.
For us to build a strong economy in this region, Malawi needs a smaller government and a bigger private sector. It is by opening one investment after another that we build a bigger private sector. It is by building a bigger private sector that we create more wealth, and we create more jobs.
For some years now, this country has been accumulating too many youths who cannot get jobs. We have too many school leavers and graduates who cannot get employment. Why? Because we have a small private sector! That is the first reason.
The second reason is that we have a huge unskilled labour force as a country. That is why we began the skills development program and community technical colleges across the country to address this deficit.
I want to see a Malawi where every graduate gets a job. Better still, you must have the capability to create your own employment and employ others. I want to see a Malawi where every youth, every school leaver can get a job, create a job or create a business. That is the Malawi we want.
How do we achieve this vision? We achieve this vision by developing youth skills, giving them equipment, loans for investment capital and creating a bigger private sector through direct investment.
We in the DPP believe the private sector is the engine of growth and development, and a source of direct revenue and employment. This belief remains our manifesto commitment. As a matter of fact, we are here today to create more jobs. This was my promise. I promised to create more jobs. I promise what I do, and I do what I promise.
I am particularly happy that I personally invited the promoters of this magnificent project to invest in Malawi. That was when they attended the Malawi Investment Forum in June, 2015. It has taken two years of a lot of negotiations for us to see the results.
My desire is to see more Malawians partnering with foreign investors in exploiting the numerous investment opportunities that Malawi presents. That is why we launched the Buy Malawian campaign.
I believe we can make Malawi a big economic powerhouse in the region. We have the capacity! God has given us everything we need. All we need is to change our mindset, believe in ourselves and work hard for what we want. Think big! Plan big! Think positively.
You never get positive results out of negative thinking. Yes, we have our challenges. Over the years, yes, we have our own crises. But I know great economies that have risen out of ruins of war. I believe every crisis is an opportunity. Every challenge is a test of our conquest.
Where everybody sees gaps in the economy, I see investment opportunities. Where everybody sees energy shortage and blackouts, I find inspiration to invest in energy and do what we could not do in fifty years in the energy sector. Where you see a poor Malawi, I see a rich country only with people who at the moment are poor.
Malawi is getting set to rise. We have all seen the economy stabilizing and now set to grow. We have all seen Malawi rising on the global Ease of Doing Business Index.
When I took office in 2014, Malawi was on position 163 out of 190. This year, we have risen to position 110 on the Ease of Doing Business Index, according to the World Bank. Our establishment of the One Stop Service Centre at the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) is one reason why Malawi is doing well on the ease of doing business.
Our reforms are working. Our rising on the Doing Business Index means the world is assured that Malawi can accommodate private investors and new businesses more than before.
As a country, we have also proven that Malawi is one of the fastest reforming countries in the world. That is why we have taken a third position in the world. The world can see that our reforms are yielding results. You can see that Malawi is moving. Only that there are a few negative thinking people who wish not to see. But we are moving forward.
My Fellow Malawians,
We are not moving forward without challenges. We should never be in denial of the challenges we face because acknowledging a problem is the first step in solving that problem. But our challenges must never blind us from the progress we make. There can never be victory without fighting a war. The wars we fight and the challenges we face are the reason for our conquest and progress as a country.
We all agree that power shortage is a serious challenge to investors. People are hurt. Businesses are suffering. And we are suffering consequences of neglecting the energy sector for many years.
My responsibility is to solve the energy once and for all. I want Malawi to say farewell to blackouts. I want the industries to have enough power to make Malawi a producing and exporting country. We are investing to expand energy production because energy is the binding constraint of our economy. In 53 years this country did not invest into the future.
My government is investing into the energy sector, so that in the next 10 years, this country can have at least 2,500 megawatts.
In spite of whatever challenges we face, wise investors see more and more opportunities in this country. Investments are still rising:
The Malawi Mangoes are bringing in the country over half a billion dollars every year from exports.
Just last week, I opened a 12-million dollar Raiply EPZ factory. We now export high value wood products to South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. We are living our dream of becoming a producing and exporting nation.
Salima Sugar factory is up and running; with the capacity to produce 400,000 tons of sugar every year and will employ 4,000 people.
Daeyang is bringing us 500 million dollars’ worth of investment in the health, education and ICT sectors. They are building a 500 bed hospital, University, Cancer hospital and acute hospital.
As I said earlier, in 2 weeks’ time, I will be doing ground breaking of another Five Star Hotel and Business Park in Blantyre.
Talk of investments done by Simbanet Malawi Limited, Urea Gold Fertiliser, JCM Solar, DF Agritech, Vision Tobacco, Mtalimanja Holdings, Nyasa Agro Limited, Sung San Biz Limited, Blue Waters Limited, Kings Real Estate, Anshan Steel, Sungold Foods, just to mention a few investors that are already on the ground in this country. All these investors have come into this country from the time we took office in 2014.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
From 2014 to now, Government has registered investment pledges worth over 3.7 billion dollars. These investments mean more jobs and more income generation in our economy.
But let me take this opportunity to urge responsible departments to encourage the spirit of investment. I am informed there are some public officers who deliberately frustrate investors. This is being unpatriotic, and you must stop forthwith. I want to hear that there are no more delays in processing necessary investor applications for sector permits, land and other pertinent licenses.
I urge all heads of public institutions to find winning ways of fast tracking investment projects but without cutting corners. This country depends on your efforts and duty to your country.
Finally, I wish to congratulate Mr. Ma and your team, once again, for this transformational project and for your decision to invest in Malawi. Rest assured Mr. Ma, that my government will give you full support.
I thank you for your attention and may God bless Malawi.