As I begin, I want to thank everyone who participated in the formation of the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation. It is a fulfilment of our long- cherished dream.
I know public service officials who worked hard to make this happen. But I also know private sector officials who worked hard with us for this Investment Corporation to become a reality.
In particular, I want to commend CDH Investment Bank for fighting with so much determination to make this happen. CDH Investment Bank will go down in history as the bank that led new path of investment and creating wealth for Malawians.
This launch of the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation is a decisive moment in Malawi’s economic history.
This is the day we deliver our vision to the Malawian farmer. Today, we are empowering the Malawian farmer. This is the day we begin to industrialise Malawi in a practical sense. With this Investment Corporation, we are implementing our national vision to end poverty.
As a nation, we have agreed to pursue a common vision because we have no choice but to end poverty. Malawians have suffered in poverty for too long. We have endured poverty for too long.
We have talked about reducing poverty for too many years. Now talk time is over! Time has come for us to start creating new wealth and end poverty. This Investment Corporation is an instrument for creating new wealth.This Investment Corporation is a means for implementing our national vision. In our vision, we are doing five things:
1) First, we are turning Malawi from an importing and consuming country to become a producing and exporting country. That is why we are investing to increase agricultural productivity.
2) Second, we are industrializing Malawi. We want to empower our farmers, Youth and Women to get involved in value addition and in primary rural industries. That empowerment of farmers and other industry players is what we are launching today.
3) Third, we are making Malawi a skilled labour society. Skills development is a catalyst for industrialization. No country can develop without a skilled force. That is why we introduced skills development and community technical colleges.
4) Fourth, we are bringing into Malawi foreign direct investment to bring in more capital, create new industries and create more jobs.
5) Fifth, we are expanding and modernizing infrastructure to facilitate economic growth. That is why we are delivering new roads, investing in energy, taking electricity and piped water to rural communities.
In our vision, we believe in motivating the private sector to drive economic development. As government, we will provide the vehicle, the fuel and the direction towards which we want to take this nation.
Today, we envisioned that direction. I want Malawi to have a bigger private sector and a smaller government. What we are doing today is providing a vehicle for expanding and empowering the private sector. This is how we create jobs in a country.
The Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation has been established specifically to drive a private-sector led economic development.
The job of this Investment Corporation is to mobilize financial resources, human capital and the necessary technology for sustainable wealth creation in the country.
This Investment Corporation will work collaboratively with commercial banks and other financial institutions. The Corporation will work autonomously with their own governance structures without interference from Government.
As Government, we have taken deliberate steps to create this autonomous and commercial institution. This Investment Corporation is a private-public partnership. I want it to be run on the best principles of international practices.
Let me call upon local and international investors, as well as cooperating partners, to invest in the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation.
We are inviting investors from within and abroad – be it Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Americans and everywhere.
I also call upon all local, regional and international investors to participate in this Corporation. I call upon our development partners and development finance institutions to participate.
We can all invest in various opportunities in form of equity, debt, guarantees and support for capacity building.
Let me also urge the Minister of Finance Economic Planning and Development to finalise arrangements for providing additional incentives. Let us motivate and safeguard investments by private and public investors.
As Government, we will restrict ourselves to a shareholding of 20% (twenty per cent) in order to give more room to the private sector.
Let me emphasise that Government will never interfere in your affairs. But I will not allow any institutional arrogance that borders on lack of accountability. Being autonomous does not mean not being accountable.
Every sector and every institution must be accountable to Government in this country. And Government shall always be accountable to the people.
Let me finally call upon Malawians to make use of the Investment Corporation. But for our people to participate meaningfully, we need to organize them. Let us move with speed to get our farmers organized.
In this regard, let me urge all relevant ministries to implement a program which we call Rural Industrialisation for Cooperatives. As I said on 12 September during the Agriculture Fair, I want to see a Rural Industrialisation Strategy in place.
With the Investment Corporation we inaugurate today, our farmers can now access credit for irrigation and value addition more than ever. We are now ready to start financing commercialization of agriculture in this country.
With this Investment Corporation, farmers can form cooperatives and access finance to start their own factories. You only need to think big and get organized.
I want to see fruit juices from the fruits of Mwanza. Let us see cooking oil from the sunflower of Chitipa.
I want to see tinned fish from Lake Malawi. Let us see the skilled Youths of Ndirande empowered with machines to produce spare parts – which they already produce using crude means.
With this Investment Corporation, women can come together to start factories for making cooking oil, making soaps or tinning fish for export.
Let me call upon women to get organized and make use of this Investment Corporation.
With this Investment Corporation, we can empower the Youth more than ever. Our skilled Youth can now be organized in industrial communities.
Let me call upon graduates from Community Technical Colleges and universities to think big, get organized and use this opportunity.
The Youth can come together and access capital to start factories for making shoes from animal hides, making high quality ceramics and many more. That is how we create jobs.
With this Investment Corporation, we are now set to start Industrial Parks in this country. Government will create Industrial Parks and the private sector will run them. That is how we create more and more jobs. With this Investment Corporation, transformation has come to Malawi.
And with immense pleasure, I declare the Malawi Agricultural and Investment Industrial Corporation launched.
God Bless You All! And God Bless Malawi!