Lilongwe: Malawi says it will press for the speedy creation of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) fund during the forthcoming SADC series of meetings and Heads of State Summit.
The establishment of a regional development fund has been at the centre of discussions among the committee of Finance and Investment Ministers within SADC who have argued the fund could help securing funds for the region’s development.
The proposal to have the development fund in place, was identified last year by the former Angolan Finance Minister Carlos Alberto Lopes who hoped that creating such a fund could propel the development of southern Africa.
Finance Minister Ken Lipenga supports the idea for SADC to have a development fund which he says will widen the region’s resource base.
The minister said the fund would be an instrument for addressing the region’s infrastructure, industrialisation, integration and other social challenge.
“Malawi through the Minister of Finance, supported the SADC Resource Mobilisation Strategy which seeks to broaden the resource base of SADC through channels such as the SADC Regional Development Fund, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and expanding links with Emerging Market Economies such as China, India and Brazil,” said Lipenga.
In an interview on Wednesday, Malawi’s Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi explained that the creation of the region’s development fund will ensure the availability of resources for the financing of regional and infrastructural programmes.
Said Nkombezi: ” As a country our interest is to push for the SADC regional development fund which will improve infrastructure in the region such as the connectivity of our country to other neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia and in that way facilitation of trade would be easier.”
He also pointed out that Malawi’s interest at the meeting is to see the consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) which he said aims at removing barriers to trade among SADC member States.
He also said Malawi wants the SADC meeting to tackle rules of origin within SADC which are hampering trade in most countries.
Rules of origin are used to determine the country of origin of a product for purposes of international trade.
Nkombezi also said the SADC meeting will offer Malawi hope to expose the tourism industry and benefit industry players.
“When we have meetings of such nature, people also have an opportunity to engage in one-on-one discussion on the sidelines and strike business deals but also some people who come for the first time also have an opportunity to see Lake Malawi or Kasungu National Park. They eat Malawi food, sleep in our hotels and buy curios and other memorabilia, all that is income and forex of this country,” added Nkombezi.
He also cited taxi operators and car hire companies as some business segments that are likely to benefit from the SADC meet.
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