President Arthur Peter Mutharika returns home with a bag of financial assistance and commitments that when implemented effectively will translate into tremendous development for the country.
The president was in the US for the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York where, chief among the discussions was the review of the Millennium Development Goals-MDGs which expire next year.
Among many assignments which the president had, Professor Mutharika held talks with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and UN special advisor on Global Education Gordon Brown.
Prof. Mutharika also met Spanish Foreign Affairs authorities who promised that the country will give Malawi a grant of $5 million (about K2 billion) to enable her expand the frontiers of social services and the reach of the sanitation circle.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Quent Kalichero said in New York that the grant will be given under a memorandum of understand that the two governments will sign on Friday.
“That’s correct. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Malawi and Spain will on Friday sign a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the provision of a grant amounting to $5 million for social services and sanitation,” said Kalichero.
Spain’s capitalist mixed economy is the largest worldwide and the 5th largest in the European Union, as well as the Eurozone’s 4th largest.
Still on the side-lines of the UN summit, President Peter Mutharika and European Union Commissioner for Development, Adris Piebalgs, also discussed the need to finalise a non-budgetary aid package amounting to 600 Euro over a period of seven years.
The meeting was held in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Hall in New York on the sidelines of the Climate Summit to which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon invited world leaders to find solutions to the devastating effects of Climate Change.
“We have discussed many things including to finalise the EU assistance of 600 million Euro over a period of 7 years. The discussions were fruitful. Details should be finalized soon,” said Piebalgs after the 40 minute meeting.
“We have very good cooperation with Malawi and we are willing to provide assistance to enable the country deal with its challenges,” he added.
The EU commissioner also said he discussed with the Malawi leader on the need for assistance in the energy sector.
The visit to the US would not have been complete without discussing the issue of community colleges with the International Labour Organization-ILO.
Professor Mutharika disclosed that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted the Democratic Progressive Party-DPP government’s initiative to provide skills training through introduction of community colleges in all districts of Malawi.
According to local newspaper reports, Mutharika told the gathering that the ILO message was conveyed through its secretary general Guy Ryder during their meeting.
The Malawi leader said, the paper reports, the ILO has undertaken to be a strategic partner in the implementation of the programme that seeks to curtail the challenge of unemployment, especially among the youths by providing them with technical, entrepreneurial, business and credit management skills.
“He (the ILO boss) said they are excited about our initiative and they would like to use it as a pilot project in Africa,” the president is quoted as saying in his address to the gathering that comprised doctors, accountants, lawyers, diplomats and business administrators.