Johannesburg: President Arthur Peter Mutharika Friday commended BRICS for establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) with a focus on infrastructure development and asked the bank to support the country’s development programmes.
In his statement to the 2018 BRICS Africa Outreach dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mutharika said Malawi is open to investment and ready to do business with the rest of the world.
He said for a long time, the country has been investing in consumption and services more than in production and infrastructure.
This paradigm needs to change. We need to finance infrastructure and energy as some of the prerequisites to development, he said and added,
We hope this bank will support Malawi’s investment program.
Mutharika further said the country is pursuing serious economic management in order to improve the economy and create a productive investment environment.
He further said four years ago, Malawi’s economy was falling apart but now it is in the right direction.
We were almost bankrupt because we had a deficit that almost equaled our annual national budget.
Inflation rose to as high as 42 percent. In three years, we brought inflation down to a single digit. Today, inflation is at 8.6 percent. Interest rates were at 25 percent. Today, it is at 16 percent, Mutharika said.
He further told the delegates that Malawi’s foreign currency import cover was below two months, the lowest in Malawi’s history.
Today, our foreign currency import cover is at six months, the highest in our history. And we now have a stable local currency. Above all, we have taken our GDP economic growth from two percent to as far as six percent, Mutharika said.
The president said the country has achieved economic recovery without donor budget support.
Therefore, we can manage and improve our economy. What we need are investments and financing infrastructure, he said.
BRICS is an association of five major emerging national economies, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The BRICS-Africa Outreach Dialogue is aimed at increasing engagement and cooperation with non-members, particularly emerging and developing countries.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA