Your Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi
Your Excellency Professor Gertrude Mutharika, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi
All protocol observed
All distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Your Excellency, distinguished invited guest, ladies and gentlemen, I feel greatly privileged and honoured to speak to you at this important occasion when our country is here to witness and celebrate another very important project, the establishment of the long-awaited development financial institution (DFI). At the outset, I would like congratulate you personally Your Excellency, the Government and all Malawians for this important milestone for our country. Let me also applaud the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and CDH Investment Bank for working tirelessly within a short space of time to ensure that the institution is conceptualized, designed and launched.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, as a participant in the Financial Services industry, I welcome the creation of this platform with optimism. This platform will fill in the gap for the financing of commercially viable and impactful projects that require long-term financing. It also will benefit Malawians who will now have access to invest in commercially viable and bankable projects. It also benefits Malawians who have bankable projects that need long-term financing. MAIIC can successfully achieve this is it has clear guiding policies and robust governance framework.
Your excellency, it will be remiss for me to not mention some of the issues that are top of mind as we consider this launch.
- One of the key sectors that this platform is focusing on is Agriculture. The need for clear and consistent policies cannot be overemphasized. Investors as well as lead developers for projects require certainty of policies at least to be able to plan projects successfully. In addition, the need to incentivize the investors and developers alike is critical and is one of the key issues that should be a focus area for MAIIC.
- Secondly, this initiative provides an avenue for large scale and extensive projects that have the potential of providing skills transfer, employment and commercial opportunities to Malawians, the youth and women in particular. Your excellency, these two segments of our population are a significant part of the economy and they need to be taken along. It is in that regard that I would like to request that MAIIC puts in place deliberate policies that attract women as well as youth segments.
- Thirdly, the importance of strong governance framework and structures cannot be overemphasized. Investors will be closely looking at this to make a decision to be onboard. A strong governance structure will also ensure that only projects that are sustainable, scale able and have a significant positive impact in the economy and on the livelihoods of Malawians. In that way the we will avoid that trap that similar such institutions in Malawi and elsewhere have faced and will secure the future of MAIIC.
Your Excellency, the financial services industry is ready to consider investing in equity, debt, guarantees and technical capacity in our new institution, the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation Plc (MAIIC). All we need is to work together with a common purpose and vision. This will enable the entity reach capital levels that will really contribute to the expansion of the private sector.
Your Excellency, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, It is my hope that banks, insurance companies, pension funds, micro finance institutions will work in collaboration with our new entity so that the economy expands for all businesses to thrive and for greater good. I am pleased to learn that MAIIC will not seek to compete with existing players but rather work with them to industrialise the country. I have no doubt that MAIIC will attract the best directors, employees, partners alike which will make it possible for the entity to attract the best capital. Good corporate governance these days has no substitute for companies. At an opportune time sooner rather than later, I am sure my own group, Old Mutual, will look closely at MAIIC’s business strategy and operating model to consider investment. I need to hasten to say that financial institutions have strict criteria for investment and it is only by listening to the needs of private financial institutions that MAIIC will succeed.
In closing, I wish the Government of Malawi, the private sector and particularly the team working on the successful implementation of the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation all the best as they work together in spearheading economic development.
Thank you all for your attention.
Group Chief Executive Officer
Old Mutual Malawi, plc