BLANTYRE- Former British prime minister Tony Blair on Friday offered through his non-profit Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) to provide “technical support” to Malawi “in the process of change and development.”
“I had very good discussions with Her Excellency President Joyce Banda and the Minister of Industry and Trade [John Bande]. The purpose of my initiative is to support government in the process of change and development,” Blair, on a two-day visit here, told reporters before meeting captains of industry for a roundtable discussion.
“The development programme being set out by Malawi has possibilities, the only difficulty is turning it into action and that is where AGI will be of assistance on what must be done quickly and how that must be done. Our purpose is not to tell governments what to do, but to provide some technical expertise,” Blair said.
Blair, who heads the AGI, said Malawi has “enormous development potential” in agriculture, tourism, mining, energy and infrastructure “which requires attracting the right investors.”
“This is why I was with the chamber of commerce to find out from them what they need to help create jobs, prosperity and growth for the people in Malawi."
He added: “The only way to grow an economy sustainably is through a strong private sector and you need the government and public sector to provide infrastructure such as roads, electricity and so on... but the private sector must have government on its side.”
President of the Malawi Chamber of Commerce, Matthews Chikankheni told Blair the AGI would be “key to the success of local businesses since Malawi has massive opportunities waiting to be exploited...but we falter on the way because good governance eludes us.”
Blair on Thursday declared that new president Joyce Banda has brought "hope and expectation" to Malawi, despite challenging times.
Banda was sworn in as president in April following the death of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika, inheriting a battered economy marked by shortages of fuel and foreign exchange.
She has swiftly set about restoring relations with foreign donors, who had suspended funds due to concerns about hardline governance and rights issues under Mutharika.
Her administration has launched a "recovery plan" through private sector-led economic growth.
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