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Malawi Government struggles to review foreign policy

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Malawi Government has for the past 11 years been struggling to review the country’s foreign policy.

The policy was adopted in 2000 but according to Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dalitso Kabambe, there has been no review since then.

“The policy recommended five-year reviews. However, due to other challenges, the policy was not reviewed in 2005, 2010 and 2015. It’s only now that this policy is being reviewed,” Kabambe said.

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Kabambe, was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday during the presentation of draft Malawi Foreign Policy to the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations.

Kabambe said before the policy was adopted in 2000, critical foreign policy decisions and international relations matters continued being made based on presidential pronouncements and decrees and were not documented in some instances.

He said in the past 16 years, there have been a number of changes, stressing the need for the review which has started. Kabambe said government has considered it necessary to undertake an analysis of issues in order to come up with a well-informed policy statement.

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“The policy recognises that Malawi needs to continuously self-evaluate economically, politically, socially and culturally in order to strategically position herself to meaningfully benefit from the ever-changing global geopolitics,” Kabambe said.

Vice Chairperson of the committee, Alex Major, said the review is important at the moment.

“When we want to domesticate international treaties, we have to align them with the policy. The policy has to be reviewed. It is long overdue,” Major said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the policy, which has the slogan “A Catalyst for Sustainable Development”, identifies five priority areas: sovereignty and territorial integrity, sustainable development, peace and security, democratic governance and human rights and environmental management and climate change.

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