At the birthplace of Dr David Livingstone in Blantyre, First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed Her Excellency, Dr Joyce Banda, the President of the Republic of Malawi as she arrived on an official visit to Scotland.

Kicking off a week of bicentenary celebrations the First Minister and President Dr Joyce Banda visited the David Livingstone centre in Blantyre where they met with representatives from the National Trust for Scotland and local school children from David Livingstone and St Joseph’s Primary Schools who are commemorating the life of the great Scottish missionary and explorer.

Mr Salmond and Dr Banda also attended a memorial service at Blantyre Livingstone Memorial Parish Church led by the Rt. Rev. Albert Bogle, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

While in Scotland, Dr Banda, will take part in the David Livingstone bicentennial festivities, meet with business leaders, potential investors and representatives of Scottish organisations working in Malawi. The President’s visit also includes an official address to the Scottish Parliament honouring the life of one of the greatest ever Scots and strengthening the historical relationship between Scotland and Malawi.

Welcoming the President to Scotland the First Minister said:

“I am delighted to be in Blantyre welcoming the President of Malawi and celebrating the bicentenary of Dr David Livingstone, who is undoubtedly one of our greatest Scots and who first established our special relationship with Malawi.

“Scotland and Malawi have an enduring friendship and the Scottish Government is committed to working with the people of Malawi and continuing the partnership of skills and expertise that currently benefits Scots and Malawians every year.”

On arriving in Scotland Her Excellency, Dr Joyce Banda, the President of the Republic of Malawi, said:

“I am delighted to be in Scotland to take part in the David Livingstone Bicentenary Celebrations. This is a momentous occasion for both Malawi and Scotland. My visit to this historical country seeks to deepen the relationship that has existed between Malawi and Scotland since Dr Livingstone visited our country.

“I am looking forward to engaging the Scottish people on matters of trade, investment and development, which Dr David Livingstone aspired to achieve.”

The National Trust for Scotland, which manages the David Livingstone Centre and co-ordinates the David Livingstone 200 project in partnership with the Scottish Government and the Scotland-Malawi Partnership, are bringing together organisations from around the world to celebrate Livingstone and his lasting legacy throughout the bicentenary year and beyond.

The Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland Sir Kenneth Calman said:

“We are honoured to welcome President Banda to the place where David Livingstone was born, and pleased that she has been able to join us for the celebrations marking the birth of a man whose achievements were significant not only for our nation, but for hers too.”

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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