President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt where he will attend the First Saudi-Africa Summit; the 5th Africa-Arab Summit; and the AFREXIMBANK Intra African Trade Fair, respectively.
The First Saudi-Africa Summit and the 5th Arab-Africa Summit will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 10th and 11th November, 2023, while the AFREXIMBANK Intra-African Trade Summit will be held in Cairo, Egypt, on 13th November, 2023.
Announcing the news in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Government Chief Spokesperson and Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu, described the Arab-Africa Summit as one of the oldest partnerships of the African Union (AU).
Kunkuyu disclosed that the past four summits were held in Cairo, Egypt in 1977; Sirte, Libya in 2010; Kuwait in 2013; and Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in 2016.
“This 5th Arab-Africa Summit will be held under the leadership of His Excellency Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and His Majesty Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudi, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques,” he stated.
The minister said the summit presents an opportunity for the two sides to deliberate on their political, economic and social relations. It presents prospects for Africa to collaborate with Arab states, in uplifting the living standards of the African continent and also reach out beyond its jurisdiction in advancing its interests in global affairs, in particular the Ezulwini Consensus regarding the configuration of power in the United Nations Security Council.
Kunkuyu said the summit will deliberate on various plans of action that the two sides have jointly formulated and map out their implementation aspects.
“The joint plans of action are focusing on several areas of cooperation such as agricultural development and food security; private sector investment; collaboration in the diversification of African and Arab economies mostly in areas of hospitality and tourism, energy; infrastructural projects but also political peace and security and social and cultural cooperation,” said the minister.
Turning to the summit’s benefits as regards the implementation of Malawi 2063, Kunkuyu stated that the summit aligns well with the Malawi Implementation Plan 1 (MIP 1) 2021-2030, which is anchored on the three Pillars of MW2063, namely: Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization; Industrialization; and Urbanization.
“The Summit offers Malawi the best platform for Malawi to articulate its interest and aspirations on the global stage but also to ensure that as a country we maximize on the benefits for our country. It is, therefore necessary that His Excellency the President attends this Summit in order for Malawi to forge new partnerships that could boost financing of the MIP-1 programmes,” he said.
“You may wish to note that His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has made it a point that he will always take advantage of such global gatherings to advance specific interests for the people of Malawi. His Excellency the President has therefore lined several bilateral engagements with other world leaders attending the summit. The bilateral meetings will accord Malawi the opportunity to outline its long-term development blueprint, Malawi’s agricultural productivity plans including titling, development of structured markets and mega-farms. His Excellency the President will also lobby Arab development partners and investors to finance major infrastructural development projects in Malawi, including roads,” he added.
While in Saudi Arabia, President Chakwera will witness the signing of the loan agreement between Malawi and the Saudi Fund for Development on the financing of construction of the Mangochi/Makanjira Road Project to the tune of Seventy-Five Million (75,000,000) Saudi Riyals (about 20 million US dollars or 22.45 billion Malawi Kwacha).
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has been one of the friendly countries in the Middle East, which has committed to support Malawi’s development agenda, including infrastructural and agricultural projects.
One of the notable initiatives is the donation of fertilizer and seeds to improve food security and agricultural productivity in Malawi. This donation is essential for a predominantly agricultural nation like Malawi, as it helps address food shortages and enhance the livelihoods of Malawian farmers.