Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera took advantage of his trip to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Heads of State Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, to discuss business possibilities with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Durin bilateral talks on Thursday on the sidelines of the summit, President Chakwera implored el-Sisi to consider allowing his government to trade by barter with Malawi, a move that may see Lilongwe being cushioned on the problem of shortage of foreign exchange.
The Malawi leader dangled tobacco, which he said would be exchanged with fertilizer from Egypt.
Currently, tobacco is the main forex earner, contributing about 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings.
Speaking to journalists, including Nation Publications Limited (NPL) News Analyst Clement Chinoko, Chakwera said el-Sisi and him talked about exchange of agricultural products with Egyptian companies.
“We already began talking about it so I gave them what we would call an aide memoire to remind them of those things,” said Chakwera.
According to Chinoko, Chakwera said El-Sisi also expressed sadness over Cyclone Freddy devastation which killed 676 people, displaced over 660 000, injured 2 171 while 537 are missing.
He added that the Egyptian President asked for a cyclone devastation trail report.
The country needs $700 million (about K721 billion) to rebuild its infrastructure, according to the government.
El-Sisi was chairperson of COMESA the past three years. He handed over the mantle to Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema during the Thursday summit.
In his keynote addressed, the Egyptian President said his country is committed to trade exchange with fellow Comesa countries.