African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Export Development Fund Limited (EDF) of Malawi recently co-hosted a workshop in Lilongwe under the theme “Leveraging Project Preparation to Unlock Industrialization and Export Development Opportunities in Malawi.” This first-of-a-kind workshop was aimed at raising awareness of the ongoing collaboration between Afreximbank and EDF in the project preparation space to catalyse the attainment of the Government of Malawi’s MW 2063 Vision.
During the workshop, Afreximbank and EDF showcased how their existing partnership is geared towards providing early project preparation financing and technical support services to public and private sector entities with a sharpened focus on industrialization and export development activities in Malawi. The workshop brought together leaders from Government of Malawi, private sector, regulatory agencies, policy makers and international development finance agencies.
Delivering his keynote address at the workshop, Malawi’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Honorable Sosten Gwengwe said, “The need for galvanized efforts to finance big-ticket infrastructure development projects cannot be overemphasized. In this regard, the Joint Project Preparation Facility will go a long way in assisting the Government of Malawi to actualize its vision to transition Malawi into an industrialized upper middle-income country.” The Minister highlighted that the national budget alone cannot satisfy the investment demand. The Minister underscored that one of the biggest challenges affecting financing of high value transformative projects is the lack of well-prepared projects.
In his opening remarks, Malawi’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Marks Katsonga Phiri stated, “The Joint Project Preparation Facility will develop and increase the number of bankable projects with significant economic and developmental impact in various sectors. This will unlock opportunities for industrialization and export development that will in turn improve and upscale value-added exports from Malawi to the regional and international markets, capitalizing on the preferential market access privileges that Malawi enjoys under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
In his welcome remarks, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Mr. William Matambo said, “The Reserve Bank of Malawi considers the Joint Project Preparation Facility as a key initiative to bolster the country’s balance of payments position within the framework of raising exports that the Reserve Bank is advancing and highlighted that the forex challenges that are affecting the Malawian economy could be improved by the initiative in the medium term”.
In her opening remarks, Afreximbank’s Director, Export Development, Ms. Oluranti Doherty said, “In order to promote Industrialization and Export Development across the continent, Afreximbank has developed the Joint Project Preparation Facility that aims to support our development partners to mobilize and leverage third party capital to be deployed towards de-risking projects and progressing them to bankability and an investment-ready state. Project preparation plays a significant role in unlocking and closing out the infrastructure and investments gaps in Malawi and plays a proactive role in driving resilient and sustainable economic development.”
A key highlight of the workshop was the handing over ceremony of the prepared bankable feasibility studies for the Lilongwe and Blantyre Industrial Parks to the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Minister of Trade and Industry. This milestone marked the completion of the first phase of the ongoing collaboration between Afreximbank and EDF under the JPPF to develop, implement and commission two industrial parks in Malawi. When fully implemented, the two Industrial Parks will catalyze and accelerate the industrial development of Malawi in the agro-processing and light manufacturing sectors. The workshop also marked the commencement of the second phase of the ongoing development of the two landmark projects.
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