As preparations for the Malawi- China investment forum reach advanced stages, the business community is in high gear with hopes running high that the forum will open up opportunities for local businesses to market their goods and ser vices to the wider international market.
The forum is scheduled to take place on June 23 at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe and is expected to draw participation of over 150 Chinese business captains from various sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and energy.
And the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says the forum has generated a lot of interest among private sector companies who see the meeting as an opportune forum to establish partnerships and share business knowledge.
Economist at MCCCI, Hope Chavula, confirmed that the Chamber is now working hand in hand with the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre to strategise on how Malawi can fully exploit the forum to initiate business deals which will benefit the country in the long-term.
“We want to match our own interests with theirs for effective business deals. The private sector is also aware that most of these Chinese businesses are from a particular province which has done very well in China and we expect that our businesses can benefit from the technology transfers with a possibility of partnerships and joint ventures which will lead to serious investments,” said Chavula.
Some of the business people we spoke to hope that the meeting will help them strike joint ventures with the Chinese companies that will be in attendance.
JJ Constructions Managing Director, James Chuma, said most local companies lack capacity but that if they were to operate under joint ventures then they would be able build their capacity.
“China is a leading economy, which means finances are not a problem. If we combine our skills and their finances, businesses in the country will easily grow,” said Chuma.
He also said the hard working spirit of the Chinese will also help to cultivate a winning attitude among entrepreneurs in the country.
“The Chinese are hardworking and they always meet their datelines, this will also force us to work at their pace which will be of benefit to the nation,” he said.
Scribe Furnishers Managing Director, Bob Harawa, said the sector could benefit from the forum through skills transfer.
“China is well advanced and they have all the resources and equipment. Through this forum, we expect to tap knowledge from them and also access equipment that will boost local production,” said Harawa.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Joseph Mwanamvekha, has since reaffirmed government’s commitment in creating a conducive environment for businesses in the country to thrive as part of efforts to ease the existing pressure faced by players in the private sector.
In an earlier interview, Mwanamvekha said government is aiming at creating sustainable businesses in the entire sector saying his ministry is currently working on various programmes to benefit the private sector.