By Wahard Betha
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has lauded the partnership between African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Export Development Fund (EDF) describing it as a milestone that will help to boost the country’s economic sector through industrialization.
Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe hailed the partnership in Lilongwe during a joint seminar organized by the two financial service partners themed ‘leveraging project preparation to unlock industrialization and export development opportunities in Malawi.’
Gwengwe said the partnership will increase the quantum of resources available for project preparation services and also raise the profile and attractiveness of the prepared projects for bankability and financial close.
He said: “We will also achieve to expand the source of financing for our domestic high value development projects from global financiers; and provide an avenue for capacity building for our own EDF and other practitioners in this area.”
“The establishment of the Joint Project Preparation Facility that we are being sensitized on today is one of the many interventions under the framework that governs the Afreximbank’s provision of financial and technical assistance to the Government of Malawi.”
“You will agree with me that one of the biggest challenges affecting financing of high value transformative projects is the lack of well-prepared projects.”
“Understandably, this is the gap that the conventional financial system has hardly bridged in the past years.”
Meanwhile, through the collaboration of the two financial institutions, Afreximbank has already managed to fund pre-feasibility studies for the Matindi and Magwero Industrial Parks in Blantyre and Lilongwe respectively.
The two feasibility studies were handed over by Afreximbank to Ministries of Finance and; Trade and Industry.
In his speech, Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga said the two industrial parks projects will serve as pilot interventions to be scaled up and replicated across various sectors in the medium term.
Katsonga said: “Project preparation facilities aim at developing and growing the country’s pipeline of bankable projects with significant economic and developmental impact in various sectors across the project development cycle from pre-feasibility up to financial close.”
“As such, both the public and private sector in Malawi can take advantage of these facilities for the country to scale up project preparation activities in order to build up a steady stream of investment-ready projects that the private sector can finance.”
“I would therefore like to call upon both the public and private sector players to leverage project preparation facility to unlock industrialization and export development opportunities in Malawi.”
Katsonga also said that a solid and committed path towards transforming Malawi to an industrialized exporting nation will yield an improvement and up-scaling of exports from Malawi to the regional and international markets, as well as capitalizing on the preferential market access privileges that Malawi can enjoy such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In her remarks, Afreximbank Export Development Director Oluranti Doherty disclosed that the bank has set aside US$$6million (about MK6-billion) to set up the two industrial parks at Magwero and Matindi.
Doherty hailed the Government for the speedy processing of the pre-feasibility studies and over wavering support towards the projects.
The Industrial parks are earmarked to create about 24,000 local job opportunities and also boost the country’s export base in view of Malawi 2063’s industrialization agenda.