Vice President Saulos Chilima will on Thursday evening be launching a high level bilateral business forum for Malawi and South Africa which Standard Bank and the South African government are co-hosting in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.

The two-day is expected to run from September 11 to the 12th, 2014 and is under the theme “Creating new trade links and growing opportunity.”

FOM speaking to Chief Executive Andrew Mashanda said the forum is an annual undertaking to partner with the South Africa High Commission in promoting and deepening business relations between Malawi and South Africa. Standard Bank Malawi is the subsidiary of Africa’s largest banking group by assets, South Africa’s Standard Bank.

“This forum aims to create a platform where businesses from the two countries interact and share best practices and ideas for growth. It recognizes that South Africa is Malawi’s biggest trading partner, which calls for strengthening of working relations for mutual benefit,” he said.

So far this year’s forum has surprisingly attracted high-level participation by Small and Medium Entrepreneurs and their umbrella bodies, big businesses from South Africa and government trade representatives from the two countries.

The forum has two main dedicated sessions for both SME and Corporate clients of Standard Bank from the two countries.

Keynote speakers during the SME session include the Head of Business Banking (Standard Bank) Ron Tembo and the Managing Director for Business Consult Africa (BCA) Henry Kachaje.

During the Corporate Client segment, key speakers include the South African High Commission, South African Trade and Industry directorate, Malawi Ministry of Trade, Standard Bank Malawi, University of Malawi, MacSteel and South African Airways (SAA).

“This will be a highly interactive forum where various issues impacting on business and the general macro-economic frame in the two countries will be discussed,” said Mashanda.

For her part, South African High Commissioner to Malawi Cassandra Mbuyane-Mokone said; “The 2014 forum reinforces the strong trade ties that exist between Malawi and South Africa and will therefore create an opportunity amongst stakeholders to discuss challenges and successes but also explore possibilities that remain untapped.”

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