US envoy backs JB on entourage


US ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson has backed President Joyce Banda’s 10 day trip to New York where she went for the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference Banda addressed on arrival from the UN and South Africa on Tuesday, the envoy said the president went seeking opportunities which would benefit the country as evidenced by the referrals her office has started receiving from potential investors in the US.

“Opportunities don’t come knocking at the door, you have to seek them and that’s what she was doing in the US and it’s obvious by the number of meetings, agreements and follow ups that I am having to undertake that it was a good investment,” Jackson said.

She said she was glad that Banda took the opportunity while attending the UN meetings to seize business opportunities and investments which could be available to Malawi.

“She met with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former president Bill Clinton which are very important in terms of getting the right kind of partnerships to be expanded here in Malawi,” Jackson said.

In terms of investments, Jackson said as a result of her visit and meetings with various groups and individuals, the president met directly with people who were now seeking referrals through the embassy.

“She reached thousands of people through participation in panels, at UN and through her meetings and I have to say that it was a very good investment,” Jackson said.

Banda has been heavily criticised for her 33 person entourage to the US which has cost the taxpayer about K308 million at a time her government is preaching austerity.

Commenting on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Malawi

Compact which enters into effect next year, Jackson said there would be an investment conference on energy and a reversed trade mission to the US comprising members of the private sector and government to seek other investment and trade opportunities.

However, she emphasized the need for an open investment and business climate for private sector investors.

While in the US, Banda attended the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, the MCC event then its chief executive officer Daniel Yohannes and had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State Clinton.

She also met with the president of Chevron Africa and Latin America Oil Exploration and Production Company, Ali Moshiri.

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