Monday, July 15, 2024

Chakwera’s Search for Malawi’s Better Economic Positioning Takes Him to BRICS Summit


President Chakwera has activated a relentless mode in pursuit of opportunities that could deliver long-term economic benefits for Malawi.

Having recently attended the 43rd SADC heads of states and governments summit in Angola where he negotiated for Malawi to be part of Lobito Corridor Transit Facilitation Agency (LCTTFA), President Chakwera is in South Africa where he has been invited to participate in BRICS summit.

BRICS which is an economic grouping of five-member states including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is scheduled to meet at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

The Lobito-Lusaka Oil Pipeline Project agreement signing ceremony which took place between Zambia and Angola on 27th January 2023 at Lobito Port, Province of Benguela in Angola, offers an alternative strategic route to both imports and export markets for Zambia and DRC as it offers the shortest route linking key mining regions in these two countries to the sea.

On behalf of the landlocked territory of Malawi, President Chakwera negotiated with his Zambia and Angolan counterparts during the Angola summit to consider allowing Malawi to be part of this project.

The project stretches from the Port of Lobito lying on the Atlantic Ocean, and passes through Angola from West to East through the Provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bie’ and Moxico, covering the mining areas of the Katanga Province of DRC and the Copperbelt of Zambia.

According to President Chakwera, Malawi stands to benefit from the project by securing shortest route thereby achieving reduced costs of importing the strategic commodity of fuel.

With Malawi being allowed into the project as evidenced by the signing of the agreement that President Chakwera did with his counterparts, the three SADC Member States will jointly develop harmonised corridor laws, policies, regulations and systems including infrastructure development in a coordinated and coherent manner.


Malawi President, Chakwera, and Zambian President, Hichilema, shaking hands in Angola

Sharing his insight for attending the BRICS summit despite Malawi not being a constitutive member of the bloc, President Chakwera has mentioned that the summit will provide Malawi an opportunity to engage development partners on ways of addressing debts.

Servicing of international debts is one of the logs currently choking Malawi’s forex reserves capacity leading to limited capacity to import strategic commodities such as fuel among others. Meanwhile, the fuel scarcity levels have reached a situation whereby quick desperate measures need to be taken to afford a breathing space.

Hoping for Malawi’s better economic positioning in future, the President has remarked that “we will champion our cause with emerging and fellow developing markets through multilateral cooperation to rebalance the world’s economic and political tectonics and make the global system conducive for inclusive growth”.

High on the agenda for the BRICS summit is, among others, the discussions on expanding the grouping’s membership to include more countries beyond the founding six.

So far, a number of African States have expressed interest to join the grouping and they include Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Egypt.

China’s President Xi Jinping will attend the BRICS leaders’ summit in South Africa as he makes a state visit to the country.

A total of 69 countries have been invited to the summit in South Africa, including all African states, and expansion is expected to be high on the agenda. Countries in Africa have shown interest in joining the group either formally or informally.

The term BRIC was first coined by a Goldman Sachs economist to describe the congress of Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2001. Those countries had their first summit in 2009 in Russia, and when South Africa joined the following year, the group became known as BRICS.

President Chakwera’s arrival in South Africa via Lanseria Airport ahead of BRICS summit


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