By Patricia Kapulula, Mana:
Malawi and the United Kingdom (UK) have agreed on ways of providing support to improve livelihoods to ensure that development trickles down to rural areas.
President Peter Mutharika and UK Secretary of State for Trade and Investment, Graham Stuart, held discussions in London on Monday on the sidelines of the UK-Africa Investment Summit where they discussed the need to uplift rural areas.
Stuart told the Malawi media that improving rural livelihoods is important in ensuring that development spreads to all areas.
“We talked about the need to recognise people leaving the countryside to cities. We also discussed how we could support improvements in rural livelihoods in delivery of power which is a big priority for him,” he said.
The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS) III puts energy sector as one of the priority areas.
In a panel discussion on trade and investment, Mutharika emphasised the need to move development from cities to rural communities through provision of basic amenities such as energy among others.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Phiri, said for development to be meaningful, there was need to consider people on the ground.
He said development in rural areas play a vital role in economic growth.
“We need to identify areas where we can bring in investors. For example, local councils have energy projects where they would want to venture into their own electricity generation,” Phiri said.
The day-long summit, held on January 20, in London, has set the pace on how African countries such as Malawi can use UK’s expertise and innovation in technology, clean energy, infrastructure and finance.