Joint meeting of the Westminster Malawi APPG and Holyrood CPG with the President of Malawi
A special joint meeting with members of the Westminster Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and the Holyrood Malawi Cross Party Group (CPG) was convened to meet with H.E. Lazarus Chakwera, the President of the Republic of Malawi, while he was in the UK to attend the Global Education Summit.Start time 10:00 (UK)
Malawi APPG Chair, Patrick Grady MP chaired this hybrid meeting in the House of Commons, with a small number of delegates in the room and most joining virtually. Appropriate Covid-19 restrictions were followed by agreement with the House authorities.
H.E. President Chakwera included emphasis on the following points:
- Malawi will continue to build on 2019 commitments made by the UK on investment and trade, whilst acknowledging that the world has changed through the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Malawi has launched its Vision 2063, setting a long-term, vision as a self-reliant, middle-income, industrialised nation, with inclusive wealth-generation. Malawi will achieve this while working together with the rest of Africa, and the rest of the world, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Behind this vision statement are tangible deliverables outlining, for example, how Malawi will industrialise and commercialise agriculture, how it will mechanise agriculture, etc.
- Malawi will prioritise human development, with a positive mentality that says ‘we can do it!’, ‘we can achieve this!’, and ‘we can truly become a prosperous nation’. We need a mentality that doesn’t give up on Africa!
- Malawi is endowed with many high-value natural resources but these could sometimes be more effectively managed.
- Malawi has largely been an agri-economy and it is important to now look at what can be done to support industrialisation and value-addition. While looking to maximise cash exports, it is essential to retain a strong focus on domestic food security: you cannot build an economy on people that are starving. By subsidising farm inputs, crop yields have significantly increased. Now Malawi is about to start selling flour to South Sudan and has signed an MOU with India.
- Malawi is now looking for its friends to come back, to believe in Malawi and help push the nation along. Malawi is looking for the kind of investors who will help with this drive for industrialisation and help increase agricultural efficiencies, such as developing cold chains, to reduce wastage through production.
- There must be a major emphasis on girls’ education
- Covid-19, and lockdown is causing mental health issues, as elsewhere in the world. For the young generation to have hope, we need to address mental health issues.
- Energy is a real priority for the Government of Malawi and looking at PPPs
- Covid-19 has been a challenge for all. No-one is safe until everyone is safe. There needs to be an equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide.
- Malawi is very happy to have friends like Scotland, with strong civic engagement. It is important that the relationships Malawi has established over the years continue to flourish, not just through the diplomats and officials that represent governments but through the interaction of people-to-people links. This is what we are emphasising, when we come to talk about our relationship with the Scottish people – it is always the people-to-people links.