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Nigerian banker pledges to build school in Malawi

LILONGWE--Top Nigerian banker Sally Mbanefo has pledged to build a school in Malawi.

Mbanefo, who is executive director for Nigeria’s Keystone Bank Limited, says the school will be built at any place of Pres Joyce Banda’s choice.

The pledge was made Monday during a State Banquette honouring Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who was visiting Malawi and it followed Pres Banda's and Pres Jonathan’s speeches which dwelled on strengthening relations between the two countries, trade and exchange of technical expertise.

Mbanefo's pledge was announced by master of ceremony Brian Banda and it was warmly received by the guests.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency, the Nigerian banker said was moved by efforts by Banda and Jonathan to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

“It will be up to the President to decide whether this school should be a primary or a secondary school and it will also be up to her to decide where to have it built,” said Mbanefo.

Earlier, Banda thanked Jonathan for visiting the country. She said she’d learnt a lot from her counterpart on leadership given the circumstances the first Malawian female president assumed power.

“I want to thank you my brother, Goodluck Jonathan, for your counsel on how to go about it,” said Banda, “With your guidance, and indeed with God’s guidance, I have managed to get this far.”

Banda expressed optimism over the Malawi/Nigeria business Forum that the two presidents had signed on Monday, saying under the agreements Malawi will achieve its dream of moving from aid to trade.

She also hailed Jonathan for promoting women in Nigeria where she said the cabinet had a considerable number of women.

“I’d like to thank all men in Africa for beginning to give women a chance,” said Banda, “If Africa is to move forward then women ought to be empowered and trusted with leadership.”

In his response, the Nigerian president expressed excitement over his visit and said his government would work with Malawi government to achieve common goals in trade and international cooperation.

“I hope that my visit to Malawi will help consolidate the existing bond of friendship between the two countries and that our governments will work hand in hand in promoting the interests of the peoples of the two countries and Africa as a whole,” said Jonathan.

The Nigerian Government has already identified a resident high commissioner to Malawi by the name of Mohamed Lawan Gana and is expected to hand in letters of credence to the Malawi leader Wednesday.

Malawi has also identified an honorary council to look into the affairs of Malawi in the most populous African nation.

Jonathan, Nigeria’s 14th president and the first Nigerian president to visit Malawi was in country for a two-day visit. While in the country, Jonathan launched the Malawi/Nigeria Business Forum and the cassava project under the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger and met Nigerians living in Malawi. From Malawi, Jonathan went to Botswana.
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