The panel discussion, which was also participated by President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, President of Guinea Alpha Konde and UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade and Minister for Women and equalities, Elizabeth Truss, was part of the activities at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.
In his remarks, Mutharika said Malawi should strive to make its products competitive in order to benefit from markets created through partnerships made with countries.
He emphasised on the need to invest in agriculture and add value to the high yields crops like soya beans, pigeon peas, cow peas and others saying there is a huge market for such crops since Malawi’s economy is agricultural based.
The President expressed concern that despite Malawi’s priority being to address the supply side constraints like energy and financing, the major challenge that the country faces is little production capacity which needs to be addressed by taking advantage of the new African common market.
“We have little production capacity. Therefore, our priority is to bring industrialisation to the rural areas by assisting farmers with farm inputs and training them to farm properly. If we can achieve that we will be able to industrialise the rural areas and get the people out of poverty,” he said.
In order to address such challenges, the $95 million Malawi Agriculture Investment and Industry Cooperation was created to empower farmers with financing and skills.
The debate discussed trade and investment, clean energy and climate, need for improved transport network and increased investment in agriculture among others.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has expressed its commitment to supporting African countries in trade and investment through negotiating for independent trade policies for the first time in 46 years.
UK Secretary of State, Truss said the country is committed to make such negotiations within three years.
The summit involved a number of sessions with speakers from the governments and businesses in the UK and Africa.
Mutharika and other leaders were being hosted to a reception Monday evening at the Buckingham Palace by the Duke of Cambridge Prince William.