By Emmanuel Thuwala and Durell Namasani
Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera and his South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation which will enable some of the products and goods from Malawi to be exported to the Rainbow Nation.
Chakwera arrived in South Africa on Thursday through Waterkloof Military Airbase in Pretoria and held bilateral talks with his South African counterpart before signing the agreement.
Speaking in Pretoria on Friday, Ramaphosa said Malawi has over many years remained a true partner to his country.During the luncheon he hosted for the Malawi delegation Ramaphosa said: “It is pleasing to observe and note that there is strong interest coming from Malawi to start exporting goods to South Africa.,”The visit has also strengthened and deepened relations between the two countries as alluded to by the two leaders in their speeches in reference to the discussions held in camera.
Briefing the ministers who formed part of the delegation for the two leaders, Ramaphosa added that: “South Africa’s exports to Malawi in 2019 were worth approximately 6 billion Rands while imports from Malawi were valued at approximately 1.6 billion Rands.”And taking his turn, the Malawi leader hailed the gesture the government of South Africa has demonstrated in softening some of the bilateral trade agreements to allow some high quality products find a market in the Rainbow country.
During the discussions, Chakwera outlined some key issues for consideration by the Ramaphosa government “The issues range from immigration, medical service, and education,” said Chakwera.The Malawi leader summed up the visit as “very crucial to economic development of the country and will mutually benefit the citizens of the two countries.”
Speaking earlier before the Heads of State meeting, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe revealed that he has been able to discuss with his counterpart how the two countries can reduce the trade inbalances. Chakwera delegation included Cabinet ministers Eisenhower Mkaka (Foreign Affairs), Patricia Kaliati (Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare), Richard Chimwendo Banda (Homeland Security), Khumbize Chiponda (Health), Sosten Gwengwe (Trade) and Ken Kandodo (Labour)..They have all agreed to revisit their countries’ foreign policies in order to serve interests of people in the two countries.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said top on the agenda for their discussion was “dealing with increased levels of trafficking women and children.”Among others, the two leaders discussed various issues bordering on how to effectively run SADC and make the regional body responsive to the needs of people on the continent.
South Africa is the incoming Chairperson of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation while Malawi is the incoming Chairperson of SADC