President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika on Tuesday attended the US – Africa Business Forum co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and US Department of Commerce to discuss issues related to trade and investment opportunities in Africa.

The forum is part of the US – Africa Leaders Summit, a historic gathering which has brought together about 50 African Leaders in Washington DC to further strengthen ties between Africa and the US.

Opening Business Forum, the US Secretary for Commerce Penny Pritzker, said the US – Africa economic relationship is fundamental to mutual peace and prosperity of both the USA and African continent.

“We know that businesses serve as key bridges between our continents, but we also share the conviction that these ties of commerce can be stronger, deeper, and more lasting,” she said.

Pritzker said closer economic ties create ample opportunities for business in the US and Africa to build new partnerships, reach new markets and support new jobs in the years to come.

She said to promote US industry engagement in Africa, the commerce department has created a one stop shop web portal – www.trade.gov/dbia – where American businesses can learn about African markets, find financing tools and discover potential projects, contacts and resources.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Malawi’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Joseph Mwanamvekha said a lot was discussed that could benefit Malawi.

“The discussions centred Africa as a continent but there is a lot that Malawi can benefit much from the discussions,” said Mwanamvekha.

He said the critical issues discussed at the forum included expanding trade between Africa and US, engaging the youth in what is called the Young African Leaders Initiative, promotion of inclusive and sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security and creation of a better future for Africa.

The minister singled out of transport and energy as key sectors which Malawi could benefit from the business forum. He said being a landlocked nation Malawi could benefit from initiatives to improve on transport.

He said the issue of energy was also paramount because there is a huge gap between demand and supply for energy and most of the companies cannot invest in Malawi because of inadequate energy supply.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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