Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has asked Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, to help Malawi recover from ‘acute shortage of foreign exchange (forex) and fuel.
Chakwera made the appeal during bilateral talks he held with Al Attiyah on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the LDC5 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) taking place in Doha, Qatar.
On top of the agenda during the meeting was President Chakwera’s candid call for a line of credit to help mitigate he termed as two crippling challenges – acute shortage of forex and fuel.
The Malawi leader emphasized the necessity of a line of credit to stabilize the petroleum supply chain in Malawi, adding that due to a shortage of foreign exchange Malawi is unable to ensure stable fuel availability in the country which is invariably crippling businesses and ultimately wreaking economic havoc.
In their first ever encounter, the two leaders also discussed enhancing bilateral ties particularly in the agriculture sector where President Chakwera expressed the desire to export beef, vegetables, goat meat, and other products to international markets including to Qatar in 5 years’ time.
“To kick-start this agricultural revolution, we need to modernise our agriculture sector,” he said.
The President further highlighted Malawi’s mega farms plan, as a major area for cooperation and collaboration between Malawi and Qatar in terms of Foreign Direct Investment, adding that the country is endowed with fertile land that if utilized could yield massive dividends commercially.
In addition, President Chakwera expressed the need to capacitate farmers and equip them with the resources and skills to generate revenue on a large scale.
Critically, the President made a plea to the Qatar government to support Malawi in its mechanization drive by assisting with tractors and other tractors and other processing equipment to boost production.
He asserted that in this regard, the Malawi Government is taking various steps to facilitate foreign investment, such as intensifying irrigation systems citing the launch of projects such as the Shire Valley Transformation Project, which is envisaged will increase agricultural productivity and commercialization in the Lower Shire, while improving sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.
In education sector, President Chakwera implored on the Qatari Government to consider investing in a university in Malawi that would specialize in areas like architecture and agriculture in a bid to consolidate all the aforementioned initiatives and aspirations for Malawi – a country intent on becoming the next developed.
He thanked the Qatari Government for demonstrating commitment and supporting the LDCs grouping by pledging USD60 million towards the implementation of the Doha plan of action.