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Malawi courts Indian investors

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Securing a market for pigeon peas, getting certification to export fresh mangoes into India and finding investors to develop the energy sector are among the bankable projects that Malawi is selling to delegates attending the 13th Exim Bank Conclave underway in New Dehli, India.

At this year’s meeting, Malawi is a partner country and, on Monday, had a session where it lobbied Indian businesses to seize the investment opportunities in Malawi.

Vice President Saulos Chilima, who is leading the Malawi delegation, said the country has enormous investment opportunities in sectors such as tourism, infrastructure development, energy and transport.

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Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Henry Mussa, said Malawi should be considered as a preferred investment destination based on various reforms that the Malawi Government is implementing to improve the doing business environment.

Among others, Mussa said Malawi has set up a one-stop investment centre under the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) that allows investors to get investment certificates and do other processes in record time.

“Malawi is ready for business with an array of investment opportunities ready to be tapped. Among the business reforms the government is implementing include political will supportive of foreign direct investment, institutional framework to protect investors and facilitate investment and there is a provision for dialogue to address specific needs,” he said.

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Mitc Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said Malawi’s central positioning makes it a potential manufacturing hub that India and other development partners could exploit.

As part of its expansion into new markets, Malawi Mangoes Limited is targeting to convince India’s Ministry of Agriculture that it has capacity to meet the quarantine status that will open up a window of opportunity for Malawi to export 150 tonnes of fresh mangoes to the Asian nation.

Malawi Mangoes General Manager, Charlie Leaper, said the company’s diversification strategy is leaning towards increasing the product base from just exporting mango puree to exporting fresh and dried mangoes into the European market as well as India.

He said, building on the duty—free status that the company has to the Indian market, an approval to export fresh or dried mangoes would be key to consolidate the company’s diversification agenda.

Malawi Mangoes export its products to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“We are farming from 220 hectares at the moment. About 60 percent of that is under production and so 150 tonnes of that into India is what we are focusing on but, in seven or eight years, full capacity will be producing about 10,000 tonnes of mango,” Leaper said.

He said Malawi Mangoes will archive this target through its commercial farms while also empowering the 5,000 small-holder farmers that the company has partnered, to harvest more commercially viable products.

Other projects that Malawi is selling at the Conclave include ethanol manufacturing impact investment, Mpatamanga Hydropower Plant Project, Maldeco Fisheries Project, Cape Maclear Resort and Umodzi Park development.

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