It was announced that the Malawi President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, would be heading for Saudi Arabia today (Wednesday, 08 November) where he was to participate in two summits; the Saudi-Africa Summit and the Arab Africa Summit, both scheduled to be hosted in the UAE.
The host country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, yesterday evening announced that the 11th November Arab-Africa Summit which was to involve all Arab countries and African countries has been postponed sine die.
The ministry has explained that the postponement is to “ensure that political events in the (Middle East) region did not affect the Arab-African partnership,” further informing that the decision was taken in coordination with the Secretariat of the Arab League and the African Union Commission.
It has been specified that the “political events” in issue relate to the on-going war in Gaza where a significant number of Arab nations including Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey and others are actively supporting Hamas in the war against Israel. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has announced that an extraordinary summit will be held on Nov. 12 in Riyadh to discuss the crisis in Gaza.
However, the Saudi-Africa summit which involves Saudi Arabia and the African countries is still proceeding as planned. The Malawi Government had, earlier on, announced that in relation to the Saudi-Africa Summit, President Chakwera is scheduled to have a special meeting with His Excellency Sultan Al Marshad, Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
The Malawi-SFD meeting is slated for signing of an agreement in which the SDF has committed Seventy-Five Million Saudi Riyals (about 20 million US dollars or 22.45 billion Malawi Kwacha) towards the funding of Malawi’s Mangochi-Makanjira road.
Further, the President is scheduled to meet Yasir Bin Othman Al Rumayyan, Chairman of the Saudi Arabia Oil Group (Aramanco) and Maedem Mining and Fertiliser Company with whom Malawi is advancing negotiations on oil and fertilizer deals.
After concluding the Saudi leg, the President is scheduled to attend the 5th Arab-Africa Summit and the Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Summit which will be held in Cairo, Egypt, on 13th November, 2023.