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Local companies and entrepreneurs who took part in the Malawi Investment Forum (MIF), which ended in Lilongwe yesterday, have described the initiative as a success and believe it will be beneficial to the country.

The two day forum brought together 300 foreign and local prospective investors and business sector delegates.

FDH Bank managing director, Philip Madinga, said the forum is a great opportunity for Malawi and that there is a lot of excitement about it within the local business community.

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He said FDH Bank, on its part, is looking at how it can link local entrepreneurs to the foreign investors in joint venture investments through the forum.

“We are here to support any investment that comes forward and we are expecting to work together with the government and MITC [Malawi Investment and Trade Centre] support viable investment proposals from the forum,” said Madinga.

He said during the finance cluster meeting to which the bank participated on Monday afternoon; the most important issue that came up was that of interest rates.

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Madinga said the establishment of a development bank was one of the issues that was viewed as one way of ensuring that investors get favourable interest rates for long term investment projects.

“The more we listen to bot local and foreign investors; we see the need to having an institution like the development bank that will help see reduced interest rates,” said Madinga.

On his part, Kings Tin Manufacturing chairman, James Chuma, said local entrepreneurs need to take the forum seriously.

He said through the forum, his company has managed to talk to various investors from the region and is now looking forward to extending its trade into the region.

“As you are aware, Malawi has joined the tripartite free trade area, so we need to talk more with our friends in order to maximise the benefits of the market,” he said.

“As a bottle top manufacturer, we need partnerships so that our business expands through the region. And prospects are high that we will achieve that through this forum,” said Chuma, whose company marketed a US$700,000 cans and tins making project through the forum’s official handbook.

Countrywide Group of Companies managing director, Mike Mlombwa – whose company is looking for a joint venture partner in a US$3.1 million three-star Country Wide Hotels project, said the forum will enable smaller businesses establish links with large companies.

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