Expectations are high that the country’s hosting of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) meeting could boost forex inflow.
Malawi will host the 41st Sadc summit from August 9 to 19, when President Lazarus Chakwera will take over chairmanship of the bloc from Mozambique President Jacinto Filipe Nyusi.
In a response to an emailed questionnaire, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Public Relations Officer Rejoice Shumba said the private sector will have an opportunity to display products and services at the conference venue, apart from the foreign exchange the visitors will bring to the country.
“As the delegates are coming to Malawi, we expect that our hospitality industry will benefit and we will have the opportunity to promote our tourism sector as many delegates will desire to know and see more of Malawi.
“President Chakwera has already called on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage and exhibit Malawi products during the Summit so that our visitors can take opportunity to sample what Malawian SME companies can offer,” Shumba said.
Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences-based economist Betchani Tchereni said hosting the delegates would surely inject some foreign exchange into the economy, especially the hospitality and transport sectors.
He was quick to say that the summit is not a sustainable way of boosting the economy since it will only last for two weeks.
“It should not create much hope but we really need something sustainable. Currently the economy still relies on agriculture but, if you look at the Malawi 2063, we are talking about urbanisation, energy tourism, mining, among others, so we really need to diversify the economy,” Tchereni said.
Malawi is struggling to keep enough foreign exchange reserves for sustenance of its economy.