As the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, British businesses need to invest in Malawi to benefit from a wide range of free trade zones that the country has with all major markets, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK Kena Mphonda has said.
Making a presentation at Birmingham Airport on Tuesday titled “Malawi is Open”, Mphonda said by opening manufacturing plants and investing in agro-processing, infrastructure, tourism and ICT sectors, businesses in England could grow quickly into African markets.
“Malawi is open for business, other businesses from the Far East are already investing in petroleum exploration, we have UK listed companies in mining, and we have huge potential in agro-processing, horticulture, infrastructure development and tourism among others,” he said.
The presentation, which was attended by over 30 business leaders in the Midlands area of England, tackled opportunities in agro-processing including the proposed 300 hectare horticulture project near Kamuzu International Airport which could see flowers being exported to the UK.
“The UK has huge demand of Malawi agricultural products, most of which are organic. We can connect you to Malawian companies that have proposals to increase agricultural production for export. There is availability of cotton for textiles, we also have one of the most beautiful tourist’s destinations which is still growing and offers opportunities for investment,” he said.
He said British investors could benefit from the 360 million population of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), over 100 million in Sadc and specific trade agreements that can see products exported from Malawi enter other markets.
“Consider Malawi as a strategic centre. It is in the Central, South East of Africa. An English speaking population, politically stable, a strong legal system that protects your investment and more importantly provides you with market access in Africa, China, the EU and even the USA through Agoa. Investing in Malawi today means you can reach many global markets with fewer restrictions,” Mphonda said.
On imports from Malawi into the UK, he said Malawi farmers can ably supply agro-produce such as legumes which are on high demand and other products that are already on demand such as rice and coffee can be supplied by the businesses in England.
He said the mission is preparing to send a trade and investment mission, saying platforms such as the Malawi International Trade Fair, Malawi Investment Forum and the Malawi Tourism Forum could help UK businesses link up with their counterparts in Malawi for joint ventures.
Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council Chief Executive Officer, Richard Burge, who organised the event with Birmingham Airport, said countries such as Malawi offers good value for investors as they could easily expand their products and services in other Commonwealth countries.
Birmingham Airport Brand Ambassador, Uday Dholakia, said Malawi had been selected to make the presentation as it has huge business potential in England using its traditional and political ties to the UK.