Chakwera Out Again Amid Forex Woes

By Martha Kachingwe Phiri-LILONGWE

Amid relentless forex woes and battered economy, President Lazarus Chakwera flies out again this Saturday for the 30th Annual Meeting of African Export-Import Bank in Ghana running from 17th to 21st June 2023.

Foreign Affairs Ministry describes the platform as important for African countries to discuss economic and international trade promotion.

“His Excellency the President will therefore attend the meeting to promote trade and investment linkages in order to stimulate economic growth in Malawi. The Malawi leader will also take advantage of the meeting in bilateral talks with other African leaders on matters of mutual interest,” adds the ministry’s statement.

It adds the bank is currently supporting the development of industrial parks in key locations in the country. This year’s meeting will be held under the theme: “Delivering the Vision, Building Prosperity for Africans.” It will focus on industrialization, food security, economic integration and peace and security in Africa.

A week ago, Chakwera was in Zambia for the 22nd Summit of the COMESA Heads of State and Government. Last month, the president was in London for coronation of King Charles III. In April, Chakwera was in Zimbabwe while in March, the Malawi leader was in Qatar for the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.

Political and governance experts fault him for allegedly being inconsiderate of the country’s forex shortage. A few days ago, People’s Transformation Party, once a Tonse Alliance partner, called on Chakwera and his public officers to trim foreign travels to save the forex.

But Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu argued that “foreign travels whose gains outweigh the costs must be encouraged for the good of the people in the country.”

Last month, Reserve Bank of Malawi indicated the county’s official gross foreign exchange reserves in the first quarter of this year stood at $374.48 million, a drop from $429.17 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

In further said the private sector foreign exchange reserves also declined from $425.52 million last year to $391.49 million this year.

The situation has led to an acute shortage of foreign currency on the market, forcing foreign traders to halt or suspend some of their operations in Malawi.

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