BLANTYRE-- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the private sector is the engine for sustainable growth of any economy.
"The only way you can get the economy to grow sustainably is through a strong private sector so you need the government and the private sector to be doing what they should do," said Blair after a closed-door meeting with Malawi's private sector in Blantyre on Friday.
Blair, who heads what is called Africa Governance Initiative, said the private sector "has to have government on its side". He said his initiative is aimed at offering expertise in how to make economic growth sustainable.
"But we must make it clear our purpose is not to tell government what to do, the government has its own programme, the country has its own destiny in its own hands, what we can do - I hope - is to provide some technical expertise," he said.
He added: "The purpose of my initiative is to help governments and support governments in the process of change and development."
Blair met a cross-section of the private sector behind closed doors for close to two hours. After the meeting he said Malawi has enormous potential in areas such as agriculture, tourism, mining, energy, transport and infrastructure.
"I think Malawi has got the most exciting possibilities at the moment and it's an honour to help and support wherever we can," he said. "There's a big check list in areas where Malawi has got enormous potential to develop."
The real challenge of government, he said, was "getting things done and that's the practical experience that we bring".
Blair's Africa Governance Initiative has helped the government of Ellen Johnston Sirleaf in Liberia to rebrand. After holding talks with the former premier Thursday night President Joyce Banda said she has asked Blair's initiative to drill her government technocrats as well.
Trade Minister John Bande said Blair's interaction with the business community shows that the former British leader wants more British investments in Malawi.
"This is a signal to other investors around the world that Malawi is a safe destination and that Malawi is doing the right things now," he said.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction without acknowledgment prohibited.