The government has set aside K4 billion for the 41st Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government Summit which starts today.
At a media briefing in Lilongwe Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka and Information Minister Gospel Kazako indicated that, out of the K4 billion, K1.2 billion would be used for operations.
Mkaka said the government expected no less than 10 heads of State to attend the summit.
He further indicated that, out of the K1.2 billion set aside for operations, K700 million was provided for in the 2021/22 National Budget, while the rest was provided for by development partners.
The top diplomat said the budget had met Sadc’s minimum requirement.
It is expected that part of the money would be used for purchasing 10 Very Very Important Person vehicles and 10 Very Important Person vehicles that will be used during the summit and onwards.
Other funds would also go towards the purchase of information and communication technology equipment to be used for enhancing virtual participation of delegates.
“Malawi, as a nation, is expected to meet the cost of transportation, accommodation for heads of State and government and leaders of delegation,” Mkaka said.
Four hundred delegates are expected to attend the summit, which will be in hybrid format as some delegates will be participating virtually.
“We are ready to host the summit and we guarantee uninterrupted power supply and strong internet connectivity,” Mkaka said.
Meanwhile, Kazako has pleaded with Malawians to avoid “bad-mouthing” the country during the duration of the summit.
“Let us use this time to market our tourist destination sites,” he said.
Kazako said Malawi stood to benefit from the summit, citing the provision of services and materials such as furniture.
In a related development, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has advised President Lazarus Chakwera to take advantage of the Sadc meeting to learn ideas from other countries on how to develop the nation economically.
He said this in Mzuzu City at St Andrews CCAP Church under Livingstonia Synod, where the church was inducting Reverend Isaiah Vwiyepo Mhone.
“Malawi should borrow a leaf from other countries, which are doing quite well economically. It is also my belief that, as Malawi is chairing the Sadc meeting, it will play a great role in bringing peace and stability to some parts of the Sadc religion, notably Mozambique,” Nankhumwa said.
Mzuzu City Presbytery Moderator Reverend Wisdom Mwale said the Synod would continue to advise the government when it is not performing well.
Malawi will host the 41st Sadc summit from today to August 19 this year, when Presdent LazarusChakwera will take over the chairmanship of the regional body.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.