President Peter Mutharika has said foreign direct investment is a vital catalyst for the country’s development.
Speaking on Tuesday during the ground breaking ceremony for the Sogecoa Business Park site at Chichiri in Blantyre, Mutharika said foreign direct investment, particularly from the Chinese Government have proved to be crucial to the country’s development.
Mutharika observed that the Sogecoa facility was a symbol of progress for Blantyre City Council whose growth had stagnated. He said the city would continue to grow again to stand tall as the country’s vibrant commercial hub.
“For sometime Blantyre stopped growing and now time has come for the country’s commercial city to start growing again – thanks to the Chinese whose investment will help in creating jobs and wealth,” Mutharika said.
“The construction of the Sogecoa Golden Peacock Five-Star Hotel will also return the lost glory of the once Mighty Blantyre City. The magnificent building, once completed, will also beautify the city of Blantyre and Malawi as a whole,” he said.
Mutharika commended the Chinese Government for the tremendous work it was doing to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, citing the construction of Parliament Building, Bingu National Stadium and Malawi University of Science and Technology, among others.
The Malawian leader, therefore, outlined some of the major development programmes his administration has put in place for the city of Blantyre citing the construction of a dual carriage road from the Clock Tower to Chileka International Airport and a ring road from Chileka through Magalasi all the way to Chinyonga – Michiru and back to Chileka.
He said construction of the two roads would start in January 2018 since resources for the project had already been identified, noting that Chileka Airport would also be upgraded to fit international standards.
“My government will also construct a 186 kilometre ring road from Chileka through Lunzu, Chigumula to Limbe. The DPP – led government will also construct a new stadium at Njamba Freedom Park and rehabilitate the Kamuzu Stadium from January 2018. In fact the artificial turf is already on the way,’’ the President said.
He, therefore, appealed to people in the country to maintain peace, saying it was necessary for the country’s prosperity and that government launched the National Peace Architecture which would operate at all governance structures to promote the same across the country.
Mutharika also expressed satisfaction with the country’s economic performance, describing it as stable, which would attract more investors to Malawi in the process.
“I am very optimistic that an improved economy is possible. We took over government when there was cash-gate. That year, there was also low crop production due to floods and we set out on zero – supported budget,” he said.
“But I am pleased that now there are some good indicators because inflation and interest rates are down and we have adequate foreign exchange reserves,” added Mutharika.
On this note, Mutharika emphasised that the DPP – led government had always enjoyed cordial working relations with various religions in the country, saying some disgruntled politicians were working with religious bodies to bring down his government.
He, therefore, advised Malawians not take to the streets whenever there was a dispute but instead should remain calm and resolve issues amicably.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Henry Mussa said the construction of the five-star hotel was in line with the DPP government manifesto which indicated that it would construct such a facility in Blantyre City.
“We are slowly writing a new page in the history of Malawi’s development programme. The construction of the five-star hotel will go a long way in absorbing the many graduating students from various community technical colleges that have been established,” Mussa said.
“The hospitality industry is indeed bringing in a lot of investors as demonstrated in this Sogecoa project,” Mussa added while encouraging more Chinese companies to come to invest in Malawi.
In his remarks, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Shi –Ting Wang expressed gratitude on the sound bilateral relationship existing between China and Malawi. He reminded Malawians the two countries were celebrating 10 years of cooperation.
The Chinese Ambassador pledged his country’s continued support to various development initiatives taking place in Malawi.