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‘Industrial sites a game changer’

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The government has reiterated that establishment of industrial sites would make the country attractive to Foreign Direct Investment and propel growth of the economy.

Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri said this when he toured the Chigumula Industrial site being developed in Blantyre.

He said development of industrial sites would make Malawi an easy investment destination.

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“For a long time, we have been losing out because of exporting raw materials. We want industries to come and process our agricultural products into finished goods. This place is almost ready. The plots are being divided, water is already here and, as you can see, electricity is also here and, what remains is road network,” he said

Under the project, the government acquired land in five sites; two in Blantyre, one in Lilongwe, one in Mzuzu and another one in Mangochi which are being developed ready for industrial investors.

Malawi Investments and Trade Centre Chief Executive Officer Paul Kwengwere said the development will take out from the investors the hustle of looking for land and developing before making the actual investment.

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“The investors already know what they want to do when they come. Now what has been happening is that when they come, they have to start from scratch, looking for land, getting water and electricity and access roads. These processes take a long time, which makes our country less attractive to foreign investors.

“There is very high competition for foreign investment out there as even our neighbours are looking for the same investors. Such long processes can frustrate the investors and they can pot elsewhere. With these industrial sites in place, they will just be hitting the ground running,” he said.

Both Kwengwere and Katsonga could not disclose the amount of money invested in the project but said the country would benefit more from development.

Before the minister visited the site, he went to the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the university to promote research and innovation.

The agreement will then culminate in the upgrading of the Must Institute of Industrial Research and Innovation, which will become National Institute of Industrial Research and Innovation to widen its scope.

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