About 24 business deals valued at over $3 billion [about K2.2 trillion] have been signed at the just ended 2018 Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) .
This is compared to seven companies which signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) by end of the 2016 MIF, while the one held in 2015 yielded deals and MoUs worth $1 billion [about K734 billion].
The deals, most of which would lead to attraction of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), come at a time a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development suggests that Malawi’s FDIs remain unstable amid initiatives by the government to increase the inflow.
One of the notable deals was secured by CDH Investment Bank, which is reported to have signed three MoUs to raise about $267 million.
The bank signed a mandate to raise $100 million for a manufacturing and bottling plant. It also partnered an investor to finance a solar energy project worth $150 million and partnered another investor to invest in infrastructure projects worth $17 million.
Green Belt Initiative also partnered an international financier to develop irrigation infrastructure on 1,000 hectares of land.
The Lilongwe City Council also signed an MoU with Prominent Waste Management company whose value would be established after a feasibility study is conducted.
The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) signed an $8.5 million worth MoU with Chinese investor, Pacific Electric Company, for production and installation of Electrical Support Facilities, production and construction of urban lighting projects, wind power and photo voltaic generation.
MITC Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said the forum is promising to unlock more investment opportunities in the future.
“We have no doubt that very serious investment leads would come out of this networking through financiers and parallel sessions we had.
“Even on exports, we have done very well because, on closure of the exhibition and events, we did not have enough time to add up the figures but we noted that we have recorded export orders of over $16 million. If, indeed, we are able to export all those, it would be a plus for Malawi,” Kumbemba said.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha, who officially closed the forum, said the deals secured would take time to commence, considering the process required.
He then expressed contentment over the number of deals made.
“As of now, it is a matter of negotiations. Normally, you don’t expect investors to immediately invest. There are a lot of negotiations that would take place. They [investors] ask for incentives, they need to register their companies so we should expect to see more deals in months to come,” Mwanamvekha said.
In October 2016, Malawi launched an investment compendium which presented investment opportunities for 118 bankable projects in various sectors in the country.
A structural plan by MITC projects shows that the country’s investment opportunities are set to rise to $15 billion with increased export earnings set to rise to $4.9 billion by 2019 as well as creation of 650 000 direct and indirect jobs.