The Norwegian Government has expressed optimism over the possibility of strengthening trade ties with Malawi in the coming years.
First Secretary at the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Bent Bakken, said although vast trade opportunities exist between the two countries, the opportunities have remained largely unexploited.
But Bakeen said his government is willing to strengthen ties with Capital Hill in areas such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.
“The Government of Norway has lately emphasised on the importance of trade relations. Development aid was not meant to last forever, hence, we are focusing on developing other components such as trade and investment,” Bakken said.
Bakken said this would ensure continued integration between the two nations.
He said the market for some Malawians products selling in Norway could be widened further if the right interventions are put in place.
According to Bakken, strategic approaches are being deployed by the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe to woo foreign direct investment from Oslo.
He also said the embassy is working on measures to facilitate trade linkages between players in the two nations.
“Trade inflow to either direction has been very little but that is to change. It is important to take Norway as an export destination. The future is promising with wide opportunities,” Bakken said.
Commenting on whether Norway plans to resume budgetary aid to Malawi in the future, Bakken said “we have ceased our direct budget support to Malawi and as of now there are no plans take that up yet.”
Malawi is the fourth largest recipient of donor aid from Norway and the country is third largest donor among other agencies.
Norway opened its embassy in Lilongwe in 1999.