ByPatricia Kapulula – Mana.
President Peter Mutharika has described what he called the huge scramble for Africa as an opportunity for African countries to take advantage of and forge ahead in moving from aid to trade.
The President made the remarks in London on Tuesday during a public lecture at theSchool of Oriental African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
Meanwhile,countries such as China, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom among others, are putting together conferences and summits to have discussions with African leaders in terms of investment opportunities.
Hesaid Africa has huge potential that can necessitate investment in massproduction of economies, hence moving from aid to trade through industrialisation.
Mutharika said that will create an investment that moves African countries such as Malawi from aid to trade.
“Industrialisation will ensure that we are capable of producing goods. We cannot participate intrade if we cannot produce goods. Malawi must industrialise to create jobs and goods for export,” he said.
He observed that the cost of investment goes together with trade, saying trade is the end of investment which needs to be looked at seriously if that shift is to materialise.
Mutharika said each year more wealth leaves Africa than the aid and loans that enter the continent and as such, the continent can move from poverty to prosperity bymoving from aid to trade.
“Western trade has for years carried a history of exploitation. While Africa receives about $162 billion every year, about $250 billion leaves the continent toEurope.
“Africa is losing $41 billion every year, hence the need to move Africa from poverty toprosperity,” he said.
He further said aid has never developed any country anywhere and as such,countries such as Malawi need to develop the private sector, create jobs,create more wealth and the principle of free market that would ensure that the potential of trade opportunities is realised.
Malawiis making efforts in investment opportunities to move away from aid to trade,from poverty to prosperity by having skilled labour force, focusing on industrial skills which would create a human engine for industrialisation.
ThePresident said it is for that reason that Malawi is focusing on industrial skills which would create a human engine for industrialisation for the countryto move from predominantly importing and consuming nation to a producing andexporting nation.
In an interview, British High Commissioner to Malawi, Holly Tett describedsentiments by President Mutharika of moving from aid to trade as an ambitionthat UK shares with Malawi.
Shesaid there are a number of critical elements that would work towards thatmovement.
“Getting investment into the country is one of the elements and that is why we invited Malawi to the UK-Africa Investment Summit so that we could try to encourage British investors to come to Malawi, spend money and create jobs,” she said.
She said economic reforms are among the things that can help Malawi transition to trade and make the business environment friendlier for investors.
Thepublic lecture was held under the theme ‘Moving on African Society from Poverty to Prosperity: Challenges and Opportunities’.