BLANTYRE--Heavily criticised by locals for globe-trotting and going with huge delegations composed of semi-illiterate chiefs, Pres Mrs Joyce Banda is scheduled to go to Brussels, Belgium, to attend a two-day 7th Annual European Development Days forum, state house said Thursday.
JB, as she popularly known, will leave on October 16, although the number of people on this entourage hasn't been established.
The EU will pay for her costs, the statement added.
“At the invitation of the president of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, Her Excellency President Joyce Banda will attend the seventh annual European Development Days, taking place on 16th and 17th October in Brussels.
“Her Excellency will deliver a keynote address and participate in a High- Level Panel discussion.
“The European Development Day (EDD) is an annual high profile forum on development issues to which always a significant number of heads of states of government from developing countries and as well as EU attend.
“This year’s theme will be ‘Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development.’
“The European Development Days is an annual policy event bringing together hundreds of development advocates, decision makers and practitioners.”
The visit , state house added, will be the first she will do to the European Union, and the first of a Malawian President for seven years.
JB's working visit in Brussels will see her holding meetings with the President of the European Commission and other high- level EU representatives to discuss bilateral relations and development challenges, including EU support to Malawi.
“The EU will pay for costs in Brussels for the Head of the delegation and two delegation members’ accommodation, transport and other activities.
Highlighting some of the elements expected to come out at the Brussels’ forum, the press release says: EU Delegation Press and Information Officer, Christophe Legrand, says Her Excellency’s visit is a rare opportunity for high-level exchanges between the European Union and Malawi.
“This is a chance for Her Excellency to secure further support for Malawi.”
Presidential Press Secretary Steven Nhlane said the President is working hard to get Malawi back on the path to economic growth.
“These visits are focused on implementing the Economic Recovery Plan agreed by the Cabinet last month.”
Malawi has launched the plan to receive the farm-powered economy which went into tailspin after donors pulled out aid concerned about governance and democratic issues during the era of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika who died on April 5 due to heart failure.
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