Malawi, EIB discuss pipeline projects
By Dumbani Mzale, contributor in Doha, Qatar:
President Lazarus Chakwera on Monday evening held bilateral talks with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the sidelines of the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Doha, Qatar.
This was a second meeting in six months which the bank has held with Malawi authorities hinging on a number of projects that the bank is implementing across Malawi.
At the centre of Monday’s discussions, however, was the commitment by the European Union (EU)-owned development bank to finance pipeline or future projects in Malawi as part of enlarging its portfolio as well as expanding its footprint in the country.
Speaking to the press after the discussions, EIB Vice President Thomas Ostros said the bank—which is oftentimes referred to as the worlds’ largest Multilateral Development Bank (MDB)—is pleased to be “heavily engaged” in Malawi, especially in projects that directly impact on the livelihoods of people.
Ostros said the bank discussed with local banks plying their trade in the banking sector the need to support small-scale and female-led companies, especially those that have ventured in agriculture sector “and are thriving.”
He also disclosed that their discussion with the Malawi leader centred around the co-financing of the upgrading and modernisation of Chileka International Airport in Blantyre, including the upgrading of the eastern backbone transmission line of Escom, spanning from Salima, Nkhotakota, Dwangwa and going up North.
“We also discussed water projects we have been implementing for many years in Malawi, like bringing fresh water to the people, at least in Lilongwe. So there are many good projects that we discussed and we shall continue to discuss and I can assure you we have very good cooperation with Malawi,” he said.
During the meeting, Chakwera emphasised Malawi’s zeal to realise the completion of additional projects including the Water Supply Project for Salima, through the Central Region Water Board, as well as the improvement of energy supply in all major water boards, among other initiatives.
The President, however, asked EIB to consider extending its support to science and technology which, he said, are key to industrialising Malawi as envisioned by the country’s second long-term national development plan, the Malawi 2063 vision.
In a separate interview, Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe, who was part of the discussions alongside Chakwera, said the meeting was “basically reconfirming the support that EIB has in good faith with Malawi”.