President Peter Mutharika says the visit by Norwegian State Secretary is a strong expression of the commitment by Norway to strengthen its bilateral cooperation with Malawi.
President Mutharika was speaking at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday, when he received in audience the Norwegian State Secretary Mr Hans Brattskar.
He said since the establishment of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, Norway has remained a committed partner to Malawi.
“Our two great countries already cooperate in areas such as education; human rights; health and agriculture,” disclosed President Mutharika.
“In education, Malawi is greatly appreciative of the supporting the Government of Norway gives, which is helping to address issues of girls education through the Joint Programme on Girls Education (JPGE), through UNICEF, WFP, and UNFPA, to the tune of US$5,175,133.00, covering first nine month of implementation.
Mutharika revealed that the funding programme has been running from July, 2014 to March, 2015).
“The programme aims at improving access and quality education for girls in Mangochi, Salima and Dedza in seventy nine schools by 2017,” he added.
“We are, therefore, grateful to the Norwegian Government, for choosing Malawi, as the main focal point of its Development Cooperation Programme. Malawi will definitely benefit greatly, through this initiative.”
The Malawi leader expressed hope that Norway will resume budget support as soon as government restructures the Public Finance Management System.
According to President Mutharika, Malawi requires more tangible and visible projects that can have an impact on the economy.
“In our bid to promote trade and investment, we intend to develop Special Economic Zones through Industrial Parks for the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Currently, under the MITC, we have established the One Stop Service Centre. Under this initiative, it will only take five 5 working days, to process an investment licence for all qualifying investors.
He then encouraged Norwegian investors to come to Malawi, as an investment hub, and take advantage of the global and regional markets, particularly in Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
In his remarks, the Norwegian State Secretary, Mr Hans Brattskar pledged his country’s continued support in the various sectors that are currently being supported by his government.
“Norway is supporting Malawi through various agreements in the areas of education, health, human rights and agriculture among others,” he disclosed.
He said his visit will also review the two country’s relations and the amount of aid coming to Malawi, among other things.