British govt reaffirms commitment in supporting Malawi in developmental projects

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The newly appointed British High Commissioner to Malawi, Fiona Ritchie has reaffirmed the British government’s commitment to supporting Malawi in securing a future that is accountable for good governance and economically prosperous for all Malawians.

She was speaking in at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where she was presenting her letters of credence to the President of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera.

Ritchie said the British government is committed to continuing to grow its bilateral relations with Malawi in various sectors of development such as Education, Health and Agriculture for the goodness of the majority of Malawians and British.

She said among her priorities is to strength the cooperation between Malawi and Britain and help Malawi in dealing with socio-economic woes the country is experiencing.

“Our priorities are to make sure that the relationship between the two countries, trying to improve the prosperity of the ordinary Malawians,” said Ritchie

She added that the government of United Kingdom has its development programs which will help Malawi to solve some of its challenges.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo has congratulated the new High Commissioner for her appointment and she added that Malawians are expecting to have a fruitful tenure with Ritchie.

“She knows us and she is aware of our challenges. We have been interacting with her and we welcome her. We believe that her tenure will be beneficial to Malawi.

“In her conversations with the president she has pledged to continue the good work to encourage the British to invest in Malawi and grow the collaboration that is already there,” said Tembo.

The outgoing British High Commissioner, David Boer also made the same sentiment during the birthday celebrations of the Queens Elizabeth saying UK government is very committed to supporting Malawi.

He said, “The UK is determined to play its part in helping make that struggle a successful one – one that delivers Malawi’s vision and ambition to reach middle income status. This will need hard work and brave choices.

Boer highlighted 3 building blocks for this brighter future for Malawians, in each of which the UK reaffirms its support to Malawi’s development project.

“Firstly, the UK strongly endorses the President’s vision of turning Malawi into an inclusively wealth and self-reliant middle income nation. We commend the recent – necessary – macro-economic decisions by Government in order to address debt and foreign exchange challenges. And we stand with Malawi as it makes the further structural reforms required to set the macro-economy on a sustainable footing.

He said that once the first point is in place, Malawi has tremendous opportunities to attract foreign investment – which is the engine of growth and which will provide the foreign exchange, jobs and tax revenue that will guarantee Malawi’s future prosperity.

However, Boer added that Malawi needs to become competitive with its resurgent regional peers in the eyes of investors to fulfill the vision.

“The foundations for this are simple – a philosophical, legislative and practical commitment to working out what the private sector needs, and implementing that. Meaningful, substantive consultation with the private sector at all levels of Government would ensure that legislation and policy development is truly grounded in, and shaped by the economic imperatives of the country. Which in turn generates investor confidence. As His Excellency the President said in his State of the Nation address, we need to treat the private sector ‘as an ally, not an adversary’.

“The UK is also putting our money where our mouth is, investing tens of millions of pounds of public UK funds, into successful firms in Malawi. This is being done through highly effective vehicles such as British Investment International (previously CDC) and AgDevCo. Private British companies – and I welcome many of you here tonight – have also made significant long-term financial commitments to the future. We are proud that UK businesses are some of the largest employers, taxpayers and foreign exchange earners. The success of investors, and therefore of the economy more widely, depends on a supportive investment climate.

“Secondly, good quality investment thrives on a level and transparent playing field. I applaud the strong messages to Government and society that the President has issued on the fight against corruption. 2 weeks ago in his address to the country, he expressed his frustration at the roadblocks put in the way of investigations by some groups, while also making clear Government’s commitment to adequately finance the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and to swiftly progress cases.

“And we commend the efforts of Malawi’s own anti-corruption champions, both within Government and in civil society. Maintaining the enviable reputation that Malawi has built recently, will depend on turning those instructions into action; and enabling those reformers, and not hindering them.
The UK has been a supporter of anti-corruption efforts and institutions for over a decade now. And we will maintain that support, both to help law enforcement agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau drive progress, and to support the development of innovative tools such as asset forfeiture, plea bargaining and unexplained wealth orders that will make it easier to stop criminals profiting from their actions.
Thirdly, responding to the needs of ordinary people during the times ahead will be vital. This means priotising the provision of basic services and support to the most vulnerable, that allows Malawi’s very capable population to thrive and prosper,” said Boer.

Ritchie for the past year and a half has been working as a director for development at the British High Commission in Malawi and she replaced David Boer who has been serving the post since 2020.

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